The Constitution Unit


The Parliamentary Battle Over Brexit and the Constitution

23 March 2023, 1:00 pm–2:15 pm

The cover of the book: The Parliamentary Battle Over Brexit

Parliament was a public battleground for arguments about Brexit’s implementation. A new Meg Russell and Lisa James new book charts The Parliamentary Battle Over Brexit. This webinar discussed the book’s key arguments and conclusions.

This event is free.

Event Information

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Edd Rowe – The Constitution Unit,School of Public Policy,London,United Kingdom

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Listen to the podcast recording

Since the 2016 referendum, the hotly contested issue of Brexit has raised fundamental questions about the workings of British democracy. Parliament soon became a public battleground for arguments about Brexit’s implementation, and the process frequently brought its own role into question – alongside that of the courts, the devolved institutions, the civil service and even the monarch. A new book by the Constitution Unit’s Meg Russell and Lisa James charts The Parliamentary Battle Over Brexit, from the initial backbench pressures for a referendum, to the arguments over the ‘meaningful vote’, the repeated defeats of Theresa May’s Brexit deal, backbenchers ‘seizing control’ of the Commons agenda, and Boris Johnson’s unlawful prorogation, up to the ultimate approval of his Brexit deal. In this event on its publication day, the authors and three high-profile respondents discussed the book’s key arguments and conclusions, including why this period was so difficult, and what if anything might need to change in the UK’s parliament and wider constitution.


  • Professor Meg Russell FBA is the Director of the Constitution Unit
  • Lisa James is a Research Fellow at the Constitution Unit
  • David Gauke was Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and then Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice in Theresa May’s government
  • Joanna Cherry is SNP MP for Edinburgh South West, and was the lead litigant in the Cherry case in the Supreme Court over the 2019 prorogation
  • Dr Robert Saunders is Reader in Modern British History at Queen Mary University of London, and author of Yes to Europe! The 1975 Referendum and Seventies Britain

This event was chaired by Professor Alan Renwick, Deputy Director of the Constitution Unit.

For more details about Meg Russell and Lisa James’s new book The Parliamentary Battle Over Brexit, and to preorder a copy with a 30% discount, see here.