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Devolution in England

Devolution in England was given a boost by George Osborne’s support for the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ and other devolution deals, whereby Councils were encouraged to come together to form combined authorities with directly elected mayors.  Mayoral elections will take place in May for the new combined authorities in Greater Manchester, Sheffield, Liverpool, West Midlands and Tees Valley.  But elsewhere, such as Norfolk and Suffolk, and Greater Lincolnshire, devolution deals have collapsed.  Tony Travers will talk about the prospects for further devolution in England, in an age of greater austerity and growing uncertainty post-Brexit.  

Starts: Apr 10, 2017 1:00:00 PM

Options for an English Parliament

Ever since the devolved legislatures in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were established some have suggested that England should also have a parliament of its own. Widely seen as a fringe idea in the past, in recent years the proposal has started to gather greater political support. Yet there is no single blueprint for what an English Parliament would actually look like, with proponents suggesting a variety of different schemes. At this seminar some alternative visions will be explored. John Redwood will discuss his proposal for a 'dual mandate' English Parliament composed of MPs representing English constituencies, whilst Scilla Cullen from the Campaign for an English Parliament will argue in favour of a separately elected institution. John Denham has meanwhile argued that Labour should take England and English identity more seriously, suggesting that some form of an English Parliament is now an 'essential Labour movement demand'.

Starts: May 22, 2017 1:00:00 PM

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The Unit's Blog


Article 50: What to expect when you’re expecting (…Brexit negotiations)

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Shortly before 12.30pm this afternoon Article 50 was triggered and Brexit negotiations formally got under way. In this post Nick Wright looks ahead to what we can expect to happen over the next two years. He suggests that, whatever the technical detail, Brexit will first and foremost be a political process and will require pragmatism and […]

Following the break down of talks in Northern Ireland, what now?

Monday, 27 March 2017

Northern Ireland’s political parties have failed to reach an agreement that would allow a new power-sharing Executive to be formed by today’s deadline. This will have important legal and political consequences, possibly including the re-introduction of ‘direct rule’ from Westminster. These issues are looked at here by Alan Whysall. Political negotiations have been going on since […]

Brexit at Westminster: can parliament play a meaningful role?

Thursday, 23 March 2017

On March 13 the Constitution Unit hosted a seminar on Brexit at Westminster, exploring the role parliament has played in the lead up to the triggering of Article 50 and that it might play in the forthcoming negotiations. The panel consisted of Hilary Benn, Chair of the House of Commons Exiting the EU Committee; Arnold […]

A second Scottish independence referendum without a s.30 Order? A legal question that demands a political answer

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

In this blog Stephen 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 […]

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