The Constitution Unit


Legislating for the Long Goodbye: How will Parliament handle Brexit?

15 September 2016, 1:00 pm–2:30 pm

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Council Room, UCL

On 23 June 52% of the people who voted chose to leave the EU, while 48% chose to remain, on a turnout of 72%.  The new Prime Minister, Theresa May, in acknowledging the result has said 'Brexit means Brexit'.  But it remains unclear what this tautology actually means, and whether the UK will ultimately opt for (or have forced upon it) a hard or soft version of Brexit, the Norwegian or Canadian or some other model.

The role which Parliament will play in shaping, scrutinising and legitimating the details of the final deal is going to be crucial; with a small government majority in the Commons, and none in the Lords, Parliament cannot be taken for granted.  To guide us through the legislative and scrutiny options available to the two Houses we have two senior officials, Paul Evans, Clerk of the Journals in the House of Commons, and Christopher Johnson, Principal Clerk of the EU Select Committee in the House of Lords.


Paul Evans joined the House of Commons service in 1981. He is currently the Clerk of the Journals, responsible for the management of the House of Commons' procedural knowledge. His previous posts were as a Principal Clerk of Select Committees (2005-2011) and as Principal Clerk of the Table Office (2011-14). He has been Head of the Scrutiny Unit and Clerk of the Human Rights, Defence and Health select committees.

Dr Christopher Johnson has been a clerk at the House of Lords since 1999, having previously taught English literature at St Catherine's College, Oxford. At the House of Lords he clerked the Science and Technology Committee from 2003 to 2007, followed by five years as Clerk of the Journals. He is currently Principal Clerk of the European Union Committee. 

The Chair is Dr Jennifer vanHeerde-Hudson, Senior Lecturer in Political Behaviour, Department of Political Science, UCL

12:30pm Sandwiches and Refreshments
1:00pm   Seminar starts
2:30pm   Seminar ends