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Organising a snap election: at the centre, on the ground, and in Parliament

In April the Prime Minister announced a snap general election to be held on 8 June. This created a six month hiatus in Parliament, with legislation rushed through before the election, and then a long delay before Parliament was fully up and running again.  Meanwhile election officials had just seven weeks to prepare for polling day. At this seminar Paul Evans from the House of Commons will talk about the impact of a snap election on Parliament, and Claire Bassett (Electoral Commission), Simon James (Cabinet Office) and George Cooper (London Borough of Haringey) will talk about rapidly organising the election.

Starts: Nov 20, 2017 1:00:00 PM

Citizens’ Assembly on Brexit: what kind of Brexit do people want?

In September the Constitution Unit convened a Citizens’ Assembly to engage in detailed, reflective and informed discussions about what the UK’s post-Brexit relations with the European Union should be. 50 members of the public – carefully selected to reflect the diversity of the UK’s population – met over two weekends in Manchester. They learned about the options for Brexit, heard from a wide range of experts and campaigners, and deliberated before proceeding to a series of votes on what form Brexit should take. In this seminar the organisers explain the Assembly’s procedures and conclusions, and two of the UK’s leading Brexit experts reflect on the Assembly’s significance.

Starts: Dec 13, 2017 6:00:00 PM

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Opinion polls and constitutional issues: the case of Chile

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

The complex relationship between public opinion and constitutional issues is highlighted by the case of Chile, where a presidential election will take place this Sunday. Polls appear to suggest low public interest in constitutional issues, despite a ‘constituent process’ pushed by the current Bachelet government. Nonetheless, polling also indicates that the public is overwhelmingly in […]

When is it appropriate to hold a referendum?

Monday, 13 November 2017

The Independent Commission on Referendums, established by the Constitution Unit to review the role of referendums in UK democracy, is holding its second meeting today. At today’s meeting the members are focusing on whether principles can be identified for deciding when holding a referendum is appropriate. In this post the Commission’s Research Assistant, Jess Sargeant, summarises […]

Labour’s ‘motion for a return’: what and why?

Friday, 10 November 2017

Opposition days have become a source of controversy in the early months of the 2017 parliament, with government MPs repeatedly abstaining on Labour motions. Such motions are usually non-binding. However, last week Labour attempted a different approach, tabling what is called a ‘motion for a return’. Andrew Defty explains what happened. An opposition day debate last Wednesday […]

Making sense of the uncertainty following Catalonia’s declaration of independence

Wednesday, 08 November 2017

Catalonia faces an uncertain future following the events of the last month, but the regional elections now scheduled for 21 December are likely to be a key moment in determining its trajectory. Mariana S. Mendes assesses how the crisis developed following the 1 October referendum, arguing that by calling early elections, the Spanish government has attempted to give […]

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