Constitution

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Thursday’s election leaves the Anglo-Scottish Union on the brink. A combination of the first past the post system and the crystallisation of increasingly sharp attitudinal differences between England and Scotland has produced starkly divergent political systems which are now set to clash in the House of Commons.
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Press Release - End of “British Party System”, say Experts

Some of the UK’s leading political scholars believe that ‘British Party Politics’ has ceased to be a meaningful phrase. Speaking as the final results were coming in, experts raised concerns about how the component nations of the UK – most especially England and Scotland - would communicate politically. In part this concerns is raised by differing attitudes between the UK’s nations on issues such as an EU referendum, social policy, austerity, and more. It is further complicated by ‘asymmetric devolution’ within the UK and the lack of multilateral approach to constitutional reform.

The UK is accustomed to finding out who has won an election in fairly short order - an exhausted party leader appears on TV in the dead of night to say that they have spoken to their opposite number and one or other has conceded that they cannot form a government. Things were rather different in 2010 and look set to be still more unusual this time. Professor Robert Hazel of UCL's Constitution Unit, who advised on the formation of the last government, explains how the process will work.

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CCC fellows in special issue of The Political Quarterly

A group of top political scientists from around Scotland has produced a series of essays for a forthcoming special issue of The Political Quarterly. They consider where next for Scotland on the back of last year’s independence referendum and the subsequent proposals for extending devolution that came out of the Smith Commission.

The election of a significantly larger number of SNP MPs may open old discussions within the party about the strategy to achieve independence. Craig McAngus considers the tensions within the party, where they came from and where they’re going next.

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  • 22nd January 2019

    The UK is increasingly polarised by Brexit identities and they seem to have become stronger than party identities, a new academic report finds. Only one in 16 people did not have a Brexit identity, while more than one in five said they had no party identity. Sir John Curtice’s latest analysis of public opinion on a further referendum finds there has been no decisive shift in favour of another referendum. The report, Brexit and public opinion 2019, by The UK in a Changing Europe, provides an authoritative, comprehensive and up-to-date guide to public opinion on each of the key issues around Brexit. CCC Fellow, Dr Coree Brown Swan contributed a chapter on "the SNP, Brexit and the politics of independence"

  • 22nd January 2019

    In the papers accompanying the draft Environment (Principles and Governance) Bill published at the end of 2018, the UK Government says that it is “exploring opportunities to co-design the final proposals with the devolved administrations.” There are clear benefits in having strong co-operation and collaboration across the UK in the oversight of our environmental law and performance. Yet the challenge of finding a way forward in terms of working together is substantial since each part of the UK is in a different position at present. Given where things stand today, it may be better to accept that a good resolution is not possible immediately and to revisit the issue at a later stage - so long as there is a strong commitment to return and not allow interim arrangements to become fixed. Colin Reid, Professor of Environmental Law at the University of Dundee examines the issues.

  • 17th January 2019

    Richard Parry assesses a memorable day in UK parliamentary history as the Commons splits 432-202 on 15 January 2019 against the Government's recommended Brexit route. It was the most dramatic night at Westminster since the Labour government’s defeat on a confidence motion in 1979.

  • 17th January 2019

    What is the Irish government’s Brexit wish-list? The suggestion that Irish unity, as opposed to safeguarding political and economic stability, is the foremost concern of the Irish government is to misunderstand and misrepresent the motivations of this key Brexit stakeholder, writes Mary C. Murphy (University College Cork).

  • 17th January 2019

    Brexit is in trouble but not because of the Irish backstop, argues the CCC's Michael Keating.

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