British & Scottish Politics

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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.

Brexit poses a considerable challenge to both sides in the Scottish indeopendence debate, says Michael Keating, as the demand to take back sovereignty requires us to say where it comes back to; London or Edinburgh.
 
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This extended article was originally posted on European Futures.

In the event of independence, how might Scotland pursue EU membership? Kirsty Hughes and Tobias Lock explore the principal options, arguing that ensuring Scotland’s continuity with EU laws and policy would ultimately be more important than attempting to secure a fast-tracked route to membership, which would be completed in any case after Brexit.

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Latest blogs

  • 18th December 2018

    Aileen McHarg looks at last week’s decision by the Supreme Court in the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Legal Continuity) (Scotland) Bill reference which demonstrates both the strength and the weakness of Holyrood as a legislature.

  • 17th December 2018

    The Supreme Court's ruling on the Scottish Continuity Bill gave both sides something but acknowledged that the vast bulk of the Bill was within Holyrood's competence at the time it was passed however, suggests Sionaidh Douglas-Scott, the strong feeling that devolved interests are not taken seriously highlights underlying fractures within the Union.

  • 14th December 2018

    Disagreements about the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland are about more than practical considerations of where customs checks should be performed, says Michael Keating.

  • 14th December 2018

    Derek MacKay’s third budget of this parliamentary session was doomed to be overshadowed by events at Westminster.

  • 12th December 2018

    Although the N-VA has insisted it left the Belgian government to pursue ’principled opposition’ those principle are, says Coree Brown Swan, at the very least informed by a strategy that allows it to maintain policy influence from outside government while countering the electoral threat posed by a resurgent Vlaams Belang.

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