News and opinion

English flags

England's territorial politics after Brexit

England's regional governance is going to become more prominent in policy terms because of the implications of Brexit. But what to do about devolution in England? Michael Kenny states that the new UK Government will have a challenge navigating territorial tensions.

Challenging the Belfast Agreement: how Brexit is impacting Northern Ireland's constitutional future

The 1998 Belfast Agreement included a three-stranded formula aiming to institutionalise contested relationships within Northern Ireland, between Northern Ireland and Ireland and between Northern Ireland and the UK. Mary Murphy examines the ways Brexit has challenged the three strands of this agreement.
Brexit and the Union

Brexit and the Union

What challenges does leaving the European Union pose for the Unions of Great Britain and Northern Ireland? On 3 February we launched our latest report, Brexit and the Union where our Fellows discuss some of the issues Brexit presents for the UK's territorial and constitutional future. 

Where will the Brexit event fit in the Scottish process?

Richard Parry suggests a new source for a famous description of devolution, and discusses the interaction between Brexit and Scottish constitutional change. Brexit Day leads to a new context for the debate, but securing independence from outside the EU poses difficulties that the SNP did not face in 2014.
Red and blue lights

The scrutiny challenge posed by common frameworks

There remains many outstanding questions about the domestic post-Brexit arrangements among UK devolved institutions, but, as Jack Sheldon, University of Cambridge, states, UK parliaments across the UK will need to be pro-active if they want to have input in this process. How could the institutions do this?
Scottish Parliament Chamber

Scotland has its own political class...just like Westminster

It is commonplace in Britain to identify a “political class”, out of touch with the general population. It was promised that the Scottish Parliament would broaden recruitment of MSPs, becoming more representative to class, ethnicity, gender, education and former careers. But, Michael Keating, University of Aberdeen, and Paul Cairney, University of Stirling, argue that we have not seen such a divergence between MSPs and MPs.


Is Brexit eroding the Sewel convention?

The limitations of the Sewel convention have been exposed by Brexit argues Nicola McEwen, University of Edinburgh. It highlights a weakness of intergovernmental relations in a time when intergovernmental processes are needed to manage interdependencies of reserved/devolved power. Is more effective and cooperative intergovernmental relations possible?

Sturgeon is strong enough to reject the Catalan path

Richard Parry discusses the latest SNP approach showing new levels of caution about holding an independence referendum without UK consent, and Conservative and Labour responses
Northern Ireland

Why this Irish general election is important for the UK's constitutional future

By the time the Irish general election campaign enters its final week in early February 2020, the UK will have already formally left the European Union (EU). However, the shadow of the UK’s Brexit decision will linger over the Irish election, and its political consequences for the UK and Ireland will be felt long after the votes are cast, argues Mary C. Murphy, Senior Lecturer at University College Cork.