British & Scottish Politics

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Nicola Sturgeon’s letter of 31 March 2017 to Theresa May stated that ‘the Scottish Parliament has now determined by a clear majority that there should be an independence referendum’. That would now be the common assumption. But in fact the motion does not mention independence, let alone specify whether what is envisaged is independence within the European Union.
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In this blog Professor Tierney argues that the legality of a unilateral referendum organised by the Scottish Parliament is a grey area. He also offers personal reflections from his experience as a parliamentary adviser at the time of the 2014 referendum and contends that a referendum held without an agreed process would have been damaging then and would be damaging now. It is incumbent upon both governments to ensure that a political solution to the current dispute is achieved and that, in particular, such a divisive issue is not left to the courts to settle. 
 
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With Nicola Sturgeon and Theresa May taking apparently incompatible positions over a second independence referendum, Michael Keating considers whether the constitution is now at breaking point. 

The UK Government’s decision appears to be final. A Scottish independence referendum is not ruled out in principle but it is off the table until after Brexit. This is understandable from the UK perspective. The Government has no desire to conduct a war on two fronts or to weaken the UK position in negotiations with the EU. 

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Richard Parry discusses considerations facing Theresa May as decision time approaches on a second independence referendum. 
 
Theresa May’s speech in Glasgow on 3 March developed a line of argument that opened up a new perspective on devolution and the Conservative Party’s role in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland: 
 
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If Brexit talks go to schedule (and don't break down), the shape of any deal should be clear by the autumn of 2018. Kirsty Hughes explains what will be known by then and how various political actors may respond. 
 
If Theresa May triggers Article 50 on schedule this month, then Brexit talks should end in autumn 2018 – in time for ratification or approval by the European Council (by a qualified majority vote), European Parliament and Westminster ahead of March 2019 (when Article 50’s two year deadline will expire). 
 
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Book Launch: Debating Scotland

Debating ScotlandOn 18 September 2014, Scotland held a referendum on the question: Should Scotland be an independent country? This is a most unusual event in modern democracies and engaged the political class, civil society, and the general public to an unprecedented degree, leading to an 85 per cent turnout in the final vote.

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Latest blogs

  • 25th April 2018

    Mary C. Murphy offers a detailed and in-depth analysis of Northern Ireland’s relationship with the EU, the role the EU has played in rebuilding the region after the Troubles, and the challenges and opportunities that Brexit might offer Northern Ireland in terms of its fragile politics and economy.

  • 25th April 2018

    The path being pursued by the DUP in Brexit, says Jonathan Evershed, is not so far from the mainstream of Unionist opinion.

  • 24th April 2018

    Antonia Ruiz, CCC visitor, looks at the rise of the populist radical right in Europe. She stresses that it's a topic that worries citizens, journalists, political elites and scholars alike.

  • 24th April 2018

    The promise of ‘change’ was key for the Austrian Christian democrats’ landslide victory in last year’s general elections. Recent sub-state elections, however, have perpetuated the influence of incumbent governors – and their power to veto reforms of Austria’s federal system. In light of current electoral dynamics, Patrick Utz analyses the (limited) potential for federal reforms in Austria.

  • 17th April 2018

    Richard Parry discusses the interacting policies on devolution and Brexit in the current impasse between UK and devolved governments.

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