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The UK decision to withdraw from the EU: parliament or government?

If the principle of parliamentary sovereignty is to continue to have real meaning in Britain, the decision to leave the EU must be taken by parliament, not the government.
Piet Eeckhout
17 October 2016

Starts: Oct 17, 2016 12:00:00 AM

Does Eastern Europe have lessons for Brexit Britain?

What, if anything, can the experience of (research on) Eastern Europe say to us as we head towards Brexit? Lessons may lie above all in getting to grips with the tempo and nature of political change, its (un)predictability and likely channels.
Sean Hanley
1 August 2016

Starts: Aug 1, 2016 12:00:00 AM

Hollande's response to the Nice massacre will please only the far right

On Thursday night, for the third time since January 2015, President François Hollande was faced with a mass murder on French soil. An ashen-faced Hollande, almost looking like a broken man, appeared on television on Friday at 4am and declared: “This is undoubtedly a terrorist attack; the whole of France is under the threat of an Islamic terrorist attack”.
Philippe Marlière
18 July 2016 More...

Starts: Jul 18, 2016 12:00:00 AM

What Place for the Referendum in the UK?

Publication date: Feb 05, 2013 10:10 AM

Start: Feb 21, 2013 05:00 PM
End: Feb 21, 2013 09:00 PM

21 February 2013

21 February 2013, 5.00pm

Archaeology G6 LT
31-34 Gordon Square,
London WC1H 0PY

This event is free, no registration required


The referendum is an instrument of popular sovereignty, an institutional expression of the doctrine that political sovereignty derives from the people. In Britain, it has been used on a small range of issues, primarily to secure legitimacy. Some matters, especially those which involve a transfer of sovereignty, are so fundamental that the public may not accept a decision made by parliament alone as legitimate. One difficulty with the referendum is that the question is decided by the politicians, not by the voters. The question the voters wish to answer may not be on the ballot paper. In 2011, survey evidence indicated that the favoured option for most electoral reformers was proportional representation, not the alternative vote. Yet that option was not on the ballot paper. In Scotland, survey evidence indicates that further devolution is the favoured option rather than the status quo or independence. Yet that option is not to be on the ballot paper. On Europe. David Cameron proposes a referendum on renegotiated terms of membership, but survey evidence indicates that people favour an in/out referendum.

Vernon Bogdanor CBE is Professor of Government at the Institute of Contemporary History, King’s College, London. He was formerly for many years Professor of Government at Oxford University. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, Honorary Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Legal Studies, and a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences. He has been an adviser to a number of governments, including those of Albania, Czech Republic, Hungary, Kosovo, Israel, Mauritius and Slovakia.

This event is part of the School of Public Policy Seminar Series