The Constitution Unit


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Upcoming Events


The Regulation of the EU Referendum

Location: Haldane Room, North Cloister, UCL main buildings, Gower Street
The EU referendum in June raised many questions about how referendums in the UK should best be conducted.  Is it appropriate that the government could pump substantial resources into promoting the case for Remain before the final weeks of the campaign?  Should there have been controls on the ability of campaigners to make misleading claims?  Ought broadcasters to have interpreted their duty to maintain impartiality differently?  Is the system of designating lead campaigners fit for purpose?  Could anything have been done to promote more informed and thoughtful engagement from the public?  This seminar will explore these and other questions with four speakers who are uniquely well placed to provide a broad range of fresh insights.

Starts: Oct 25, 2016 1:00:00 PM

English Votes for English Laws One Year on: a critical evaluation

In October 2015 the House of Commons approved an important set of procedural changes, designed by the government, known as ‘English Votes for English Laws’. This new system has proved contentious in both political and constitutional terms, provoking claims that it has fundamentally altered the terms of representation at Westminster. But what should be made of this and other criticisms? This event marks the publication of a major new report by Michael Kenny and Daniel Gover about EVEL’s first year in operation, which sets out the results of an in-depth academic investigation into the reform. It includes detailed analysis of how the new procedures have worked in practice, and also raises questions about their wider constitutional implications. The authors propose a number of changes to the current system and will discuss their main recommendations.

Starts: Nov 28, 2016 6:00:00 PM

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Party conferences and Brexit

Friday, 21 October 2016

Party conference season presented an opportunity for each of the political parties to set out their responses to the EU referendum result. Unsurprisingly, there were major differences between their respective visions for the post-Brexit landscape. Whilst the Liberal Democrat and Green leaders called for a second EU referendum, and the SNP promised a draft bill […]

So this is how liberty dies? Hungary’s EU migrant quota referendum

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

On 2 October a referendum was held in Hungary on the EU’s plans for refugee and migrant resettlement. 98 per cent of those who turned out supported the government in voting ‘No’ but the result was invalid as the 50 per cent turnout threshold was not met. Zoltán Gábor Szűcs discusses the background to the […]

Sturgeon sets Scotland on collision course with May’s government

Friday, 14 October 2016

Yesterday, at the SNP autumn conference in Glasgow, Nicola Sturgeon addressed her party faithful for the first time since the UK voted to leave the European Union. Akash Paun argues that the speech sets the UK and Scottish governments on a collision course. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s opening address to the SNP conference in Glasgow emphasised both […]

All you need to know about the Italian constitutional referendum

Thursday, 13 October 2016

On 4 December Italians will vote in a referendum on a major constitutional reform. The referendum is highly significant both constitutionally and, given Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s pledge to resign if the reform is defeated, politically. In this post Vincenzo Scarpetta offers an overview of the proposed reform and the key objections to it that […]

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