Options for an English Parliament
Ever since the establishment of the devolved assemblies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the late 1990s some have proposed that England too should have a parliament of its own. Although various individuals and groups have voiced such ideas, and a Campaign for an English Parliament was established in 1998, little detailed work has previously been done on design options for what an English Parliament might actually look like, partly because the proposal initially secured little mainstream support. In recent years, however, a growing number of senior politicians from across the party political spectrum have shown interest in an English Parliament as a possible solution to the ‘English question’.
This project hence explored the options for an English Parliament, including, among other things, the likely size, location, electoral system, powers and internal organisation of such a body, as well as the implications for the UK’s central political institutions (i.e. Westminster and Whitehall) and overall territorial structure. The purpose was not to advocate for or against an English Parliament but to provide objective evidence about the feasibility of different options and the likely challenges in constructing such a body.
The research was based on detailed analysis of existing devolution arrangements in the UK and overseas, as well as interviews with key proponents and opponents of an English Parliament. The main output from the project is a Constitution Unit report, published in March 2018.
Key findings were also published throughout the project in blog posts, all of which can be accessed at the bottom of the page.
- The project was funded by the Nuffield Foundation, and ran from autumn 2016 to February 2018.
- It was led by Professor Meg Russell, with Jack Sheldon as Research Assistant.
- We were advised by a steering group consisting of Professor John Denham (University of Winchester), Paul Evans (House of Commons), Professor Anna Gamper (University of Innsbruck), Oonagh Gay (formerly House of Commons Library), Professor Charlie Jeffery (University of Edinburgh), Professor Michael Kenny (University of Cambridge), Akash Paun (Institute for Government) and Mark Sandford (House of Commons Library).
- PDF of the final report Options for an English Parliament (140 pages)
- News story marking the publication of the report
- Summary blog post describing the key conclusions of the report
Jack Sheldon: Options for an English Parliament (The Cambridge Minute)
Jack Sheldon: Options for an English Parliament
Jack Sheldon breaks down the proposed possibilities.
- Blog posts
Thursday, 16 August 2018
A week after the state of intergovernmental relations (IGR) in the UK was highlighted by the UK government’s law officers standing in opposition to their devolved counterparts in the UK Supreme Court, the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee published a report on improving IGR after Brexit. Jack Sheldon discusses the methods by which England […]
Friday, 09 March 2018
Constitution Unit researchers have been working on a detailed project on Options for an English Parliament, whose final report has just been published. In this post, report authors Meg Russell and Jack Sheldon reflect on the key design questions associated with the two main models for an English Parliament, and how proposals for such a […]
Wednesday, 21 February 2018
A Constitution Unit project has been examining options for an English Parliament. One factor that must be taken into account is implications for the UK’s central political institutions. Focusing on the separately elected model for an English Parliament, in this post Jack Sheldon and Meg Russell suggest that there would inevitably be substantial implications. Both […]
Tuesday, 13 February 2018
Almost 20 years after the creation of the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, England is the only country of the United Kingdom without its own devolved executive and legislative body. Meg Russell and Jack Sheldon offer their view on whether or not a dual mandate English Parliament is desirable or if it has the […]
Thursday, 30 November 2017
Ongoing Constitution Unit research is exploring options for an English Parliament. The choice of location would have major practical implications, as well as being of high symbolic importance. Jack Sheldon sets out the factors that would need to be considered. He suggests that while a ‘dual mandate’ English Parliament would almost certainly meet at Westminster, […]
Thursday, 12 October 2017
Ongoing Constitution Unit research is exploring options for an English Parliament. Two of the most fundamental questions concern what policy powers such a body would have and financial arrangements. Jack Sheldon suggests that an English Parliament would be likely to have policy and fiscal powers resembling those of the Scottish Parliament, and that a new […]