Browse audio and video recordings from past Constitution Unit events.
13 January 2022
A distinguished panel discuss the difficulties of Lords reform and whether new approaches are needed.
1 December 2021
This seminar reflects on the international trends of populism, with a particular interest in how they are affecting, and may continue to affect, the UK.
12 November 2021
CSPL’s chair, Lord (Jonathan) Evans, talks about the Standards Matter 2 review and CSPL’s main recommendations with Professor Meg Russell.
23 September 2021
Leading experts Professor Justin Fisher, Laura Lock, Baroness (Nicky) Morgan of Cotes, and Louise Edwards discuss some of the controversial proposals put forward by the government in the Elections Bill and draft Online Safety Bill.
29 July 2021
The latest book by prize-winning author Prof Linda Colley FBA (Professor of History at Princeton) is about the global history of written constitutions from the 1750s to the modern day, and the close connections between constitutions and warfare. She discusses the ideas in the book with Dr Harshan Kumarasingham (Edinburgh) and Robert Hazell (Constitution Unit).
17-18 June 2021
The government had a wide-ranging agenda for constitutional reforms on page 48 of its 2019 election manifesto. This conference, co-organised by the Constitution Unit, the Department of Politics & International Relations at the University of Oxford and UK in a Changing Europe (UKICE), brought together politicians, policymakers and academic experts to discuss the government’s progress so far, and what lies ahead.
The Working Group on Unification Referendums on the Island of Ireland published its Final Report on 26 May. The report explores how any potential future referendum or referendums on the constitutional status of Northern Ireland would best be designed and conducted. A panel discuss its findings: Professor John Coakley, Sarah Creighton, Dr Avila Kilmurray, Alan Renwick, Patrick Maguire. Chair: Professor Cathy Gormely-Heenan.
24 May 2021
Westminster and Holyrood have both been engulfed by scandals over ministerial behaviour in the past year. The Committee on Standards in Public Life (CSPL) has launched a further review, Standards Matter 2, to evaluate the institutions and processes that uphold standards of conduct in Westminster and beyond.Sir Alex Allan, Susan Deacon and Richard Thomas CBE discuss this matter.
29 April 2021
Peter Riddell steps down as the Commissioner for Public Appointments in September 2021. The Commissioner’s role is to ensure fair and open competition, with the final choice made by ministers. In this valedictory talk, he reflects on the system of public appointments, and discusses what changes are needed to provide public confidence in the system.
22 March 2021
If the SNP win a majority in the Scottish Parliament elections in May, Nicola Sturgeon will declare they have a mandate for a second independence referendum. Boris Johnson has said he will refuse to allow one. But can he can really resist? Prof Aileen McHarg explains the legal issues; James Forsyth the politics, and the need for an alternative offer; and Dr Alan Renwick the referendum process, if the Scots are to make a fully informed decision.
25 February 2021
How do people in the UK view democracy? How do they think UK democracy ought to operate? What roles do they think should be played by parliament, government, the courts, and the public themselves? How do such attitudes vary across the population, and what shapes them? Professors Jane Green and Claudia Landwehr and Deborah Mattinson discuss.
27 January 2021
In partnership with The UK in a Changing Europe, two seasoned Conservative parliamentarians — Lord Young of Cookham and Mark Harper MP —and the director of the Constitution Unit look back at Boris Johnson’s relationship with parliament, reflecting on the highs and lows, expectations and reality, and lessons for the future.
19 January 2021
'Taking Back Control: Why the House of Commons Should Govern its own Time' is a Constitution Unit report which explores why MPs lack control of their own institution, what problems this causes, and what should be done; this launch event discusses its findings with its authors, Valerie Vaz MP, Karen Bradley MP, Sir David Natzler, and the report authors - Professor Meg Russell and Dr Daniel Gover.
4 December 2020
How will devolution and the Union change post-Brexit? As the final part of the Constitution Unit’s 25th anniversary celebrations, we examine devolution and the Union with four academic experts, one from each part of the UK: Professors Laura McAllister, John Denham, Cathy Gormley-Heenan and Michael Keating. Chair: Prof Robert Hazell.
Report launch: Interim Report of the Working Group on Unification Referendums on the Island of Ireland
3 December 2020
The Interim Report of the Working Group on Unification Referendums on the Island of Ireland was published on 26 November. The report explores how any potential future referendum or referendums on the constitutional status of Northern Ireland would best be designed and conducted. This webinar discusses the report’s purposes, analysis, and conclusions with speakers Professor Alan Renwick, Clare Slaters, Alan Whysall and Martin Kettle. This event was chaired by Professor Meg Russell.
3 November 2020
What were the key questions, and motivating factors, then and now? As part of the Constitution Unit's 25th anniversary celebrations, this online seminar hosts speakers Jack Straw, Professor Francesca Klug and David Gauke. They look back at the constitutional reform agenda of the 1997 Labour government, and forward at the constitutional reforms proposed in the 2019 Conservative manifesto. This event was chaired by Prof Meg Russell.
5 October 2020
The Conservative party had a clear commitment to repeal the FTPA, which was repeated in the Queen's speech. Nothing further has happened from the government. But in September, two parliamentary committees published reports explaining complications. In this webinar, Baroness Taylor, Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP and Professor Petra Schleiter discuss these reports and their implications. Chair: Professor Meg Russell.
30 September 2020
'The Role of Monarchy in Modern Democracy: European Monarchies Compared' is the first comparative study of European monarchies, written with 20 academic experts. An expert panel of Lord Janvrin, Valentine Low, Professor Jean Seaton, Jonny Dymond and Professor Rudy Andeweg discuss the book's main findings. Namely, how an ancient, hereditary institution has survived as a central part of these democracies. Chair: Jonathan Dimbleby.
2 July 2020
This webinar is about the challenges of reporting on politics, and on parliament, during the lockdown. What have journalists lost with no access to the lobby, and what alternative sources can they use instead? Mark D'Arcy, Esther Webber and Brian Taylor give their thoughts. Chair: Professor Meg Russell.
1 June 2020
Lockdown has seen parliament and the Climate Assembly UK conducting business online. This webinar hosts four experts, Baroness Morgan of Cotes, Greg Power, Sarah Allan and Doreen Grove to explore key questions about the effects of lockdown. What has been lost? What lessons might be learned? Chair: Professor Meg Russell.
27 February 2020
Rt Hon. Kenneth Clarke QC has had a unique parliamentary career. He was an MP for 49 years, held the status as Father of the House (i.e. longest-serving member), and served in a variety of ministerial posts. In this session, he reflects on his career in conversation with Meg Russell.
4 February 2020
The Conservative party's 2019 manifesto commits the new government to 'look at the broader aspects of our constitution.' There are also specific commitments: to update the Human Rights Act; to ensure judicial review is not abused; and to set up a 'Constitution, Democracy and Rights Commission'. Two Conservative experts, Lord Dunlop and Chris White discuss how the new government might implement this agenda and possible obstacles. Chair: Professor Meg Russell.
16 December 2019
In this seminar, three UCL experts and Dr Sofia Collignon discuss key aspects of the general election. Prof Ben Lauderdale analyses the accuracy of polling; Dr Sofia Collignon talks about the main characteristics of the candidates; Professor Alan Renwick about the performance of the campaign rules; and Prof Meg Russell about the likely political dynamics in the new parliament. Chair: Lisa James.
28 November 2019
'Brexit has triggered a constitutional as well as a political crisis, and it is time that we had a written constitution.' So many people believe this statement; but are they right? And how should we set about drafting one? In this seminar, experts Professors Sionaidh Douglas and Nick Barber make the case for and against a written constitution. Chair: Professor Robert Hazell.
23 October 2019
Brexit has seen the government not merely proroguing parliament for five weeks, but also threatening that the Queen might be advised to withhold Royal Assent from parliamentary bills, or even that the Privy Council might suspend Acts of parliament the government doesn't like. In this seminar, experts Professor Anne Twomey and Professor Alison Young discuss whether the prerogative needs to be more regulated, and how this might be done. Chair: Professor Robert Hazell.
5 October 2019
Brexit continues to be a central controversy in British politics: it has divided the public and brought key aspects of the UK's constitutional settlement into doubt. A panel of expert commentators, Professors Meg Russell, Jeff King and Alan Renwick reflect on recent controversies and possible ways forward. Chair: Lisa James.
12 September 2019
The rules governing election campaigns are no longer fit for purpose: parliamentary committees, independent reports, and even the government have acknowledged this. Yet, if an early election is called, these rules will not have been updated. Experts Dorothy Byrne, Ed Humpherson, Joe Mitchell and Will Moy give their opinions on what others (journalists, regulators, researchers, campaigners) can do in the meantime to improve the information available? Chair: Professor Alan Renwick.
22 July 2019
A panel of experts, Hilary Benn MP, Professor Meg Russell, Brigid Fowler and Chris White analyse parliament's handling of Brexit thus far. Have procedures been used appropriately? What do recent events tell us about parliament's power over government? What is the effect on public perceptions of both? Chair Dr Daniel Gover.
15 July 2019
This full-day event, brings together experts, academics and politicians to consider the implications of Brexit for the constitution. The event was co-badged with the UK in a Changing Europe and the Hansard Society.
1 July 2019
This event brings together a panel of experts: Joanna Cherry MP, Lilian Greenwood MP, Sarah Allan and Graham Smith. These experts give their thoughts on the following questions: How do citizens' assemblies work in practice? What are they good for? Are there topics or circumstances for which they are not suitable? Chair: Professor Alan Renwick.
17 June 2019
In this seminar, experts on all the main political parties — Tim Bale, Paul Webb, Jess Garland and Mark Pack — discuss the process by which leaders of political parties are selected. Chair: Professor Meg Russell.
14 May 2019
This seminar launched Rethinking Democracy, a collection of essays edited by Andrew Gamble and Tony Wright. Leading academics Andrew Gamble, Joni Lovenduski, Tony Wright and Albert Weale explore the problems of democracy and suggest ways it might now be extended and deepened. Chair: Meg Russell.
19 March 2019
On 1 March 2019 Sir David Natzler retired from his role as Clerk of the House of Commons. Sir David joined the House Service in 1975, and has held various senior appointments during his career. In this event, Sir David reflects on his 40+ years in parliament and the challenge ahead for parliament in conversation with Professor Meg Russell.
21 February 2019
A seminar with Dame Sue Owen (Permanent Secretary at Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) and Peter Riddell (Commissioner for Public Appointments). Sue Owen discusses the challenges of making public appointments to 45 public bodies in the fields of culture, media and sport. Peter Riddell reflects on how the system of public appointments has developed in the light of the Grimstone review of spring 2016.
11 February 2019
Brexit will be a momentous event. Discussion has largely focused on its economic consequences but it will also have large consequences for the British constitution. Could Brexit result in greater powers for government rather than parliament? How will rights be impacted? Prof Vernon Bogdanor author of `Beyond Brexit’, explores these questions in this event.
12 December 2018
Ian Shapiro discusses his new book, 'Responsible Parties: Saving Democracy from Itself' with Frances Rosenbluth and Dr Sherrill Stroschein. He explores the varieties of political competition across the democratic world and suggests that efforts to make political parties more democratic over the past several decades have backfired.
3 December 2018
Digital campaigning has received bad press recently. But the internet also has huge potential to engage and mobilise people, and enable them to be more active citizens. In this seminar, three leading figures, Areeq Chowdhury, Joe Mitchell and Will Moy speak about ways in which technology can enhance democratic participation, and also about some of its limitations. Chair: Professor Alan Renwick.
28 November 2018
The House of Lords has become increasingly controversial, with its numbers reaching around 800: up from less than 700 in 1999. In October 2017, the Lord Speaker's Committee, chaired by Crossbencher Lord Burns, proposed a system of phased retirements and a more regulated system for appointments. At this event, Burns reflects upon progress since the report alongside Baronness Taylor and Sir Bernard Jenkin. Chair: Professor Meg Russell.
15 October 2018
Do citizens' assemblies allow for more effective public participation? Are they sufficiently representative? How do they interact with the rest of the democratic process? At this seminar, two of Ireland’s leading experts on citizens’ assemblies, Professor David Farrell and Dr Jane Suiter, reflect on the experience in Ireland and draw out potential lessons for the UK. Chair: Professor Alan Renwick.
27 September 2018
How many days’ debate will the Brexit legislation require? How many votes will Theresa May need to stave off confidence motions? What counts as a confidence motion under the new rules of the Fixed Term? Dr Jack Simson Caird, Dr Alan Wager, and Matthew Bevington discuss. Chair: Professor Meg Russell.
The Future of Referendums in the UK: Launch of the Report of the Independent Commission on Referendums
11 July 2018
In October 2017 the Constitution Unit established the Independent Commission on Referendums to review the role and conduct of referendums in the UK. The Commission met over eight months, took evidence, deliberated, and produced a detailed report containing comprehensive recommendations. At this seminar, members Sir Joe Pilling, Professor Alan Renwick, Jenny Watson CBE, and Deborah Mattinson discussed the recommendations and how they were reached and considered what could be done to take the proposals forward.
18 June 2018
Drawing on a four-year ESRC funded study of parliamentary candidates standing in the 2015 and 2017 general elections, this event shares research and insights into key questions around selection, campaigning, election and representation in Britain. Who are our parliamentary candidates? What motivates them to stand? How much does it cost to run? Are they representative of the constituents they serve? Speakers: Prof Rosie Campbell; Dr Sofia Collingnon Delmar; Dr Stefanie Reher; Dr Javie Sajuria; Dr Maria Sobolewska; and Lord Hayward.
30 May 2018
Robert Hazell and Bob Morris present the findings of two of their recent reports: 'Planning for Accession and Coronation' and 'The Accession Declaration and Coronation Oaths.'
15 May 2018
There is widespread concern about the quality of debate that precedes elections and referendums. Campaigners' claims are often seen as false or misleading. Many voters feel they cannot find reliable information on the options before them. But what can be done to improve this situation? This seminar explores emerging ideas and compares how the issue is tackled in other countries. Professor Aan Renwick, Dr Jane Suiter and Lord Foulkes discuss in this event. Chair: Professor Robert Hazell.
17 April 2018
The House of Lords created an ad hoc Committee to explore how influential political polling and digital media is on politics and democracy in the UK. The Committee is due to report in March 2018. Lord Lipsey, chair of the committee, discusses the committee's findings and recommendations, with responses from Prof Will Jennings and Martin Boon. Chair: Jennifer Hudson.
21 March 2018
In December the Committee on Standards in Public Life (CSPL) published its report on intimidation of parliamentary candidates and others in public life. At this seminar, experts Lord Bew, Jane Ramsey and Sofia Collignon explore the Committee's recommendations, which are directed to government, social media companies, political parties, the media, and MPs themselves. Chair: Jennifer Hudson.
21 March 2018
In recent elections and in the EU referendum, concerns have been raised about online targeting of voters in social media and the use of voter data. Dr Martin Moore's research for his latest book suggests there is cause for concern. He is director of the Centre for the Study of Media, Communication and Power at King's College London, and was previously founding director of the Media Standards Trust.
23 January 2018
This event is the inaugural annual lecture of The Constitution Society, hosted by the Constitution Unit. Dominic Grieve QC MP offers his distinctive perspective on Brexit, discussing the concept of parliamentary sovereignty, the role of international courts in UK law, and the more troubling aspects of the Withdrawal Bill itself.
Taking a Deliberative Approach to Complexity: What can we learn from the Citizens' Assembly on Brexit?
23 January 2018
This seminar examines what we can learn from the experience of holding a citizens' assembly about Brexit and considers the role of such participatory processes in current decision-making in Scotland. Experts Professor Alan Renwick, Kaela Scott, James Mitchell and Oliver Escobar discuss. Chair: Doreen Grove.
17 January 2018
In October the Constitution Unit launched an Independent Commission on Referendums, to review the role of referendums in British democracy and consider how their rules and practice could be improved. At this seminar, the chair and members of the Commission discuss their task, how they are setting about it, and the input they need from other experts and the public to ensure the Commission draws on the widest possible evidence base. Speakers Professor Alan Renwick, Sir Joe Pilling, Sue Inglish and Sue Baxter discuss. Chair: Professor Meg Russell.
- Brexit in the Supreme Court: The Case of the Century (30 January 2017)
An expert panel of lawyers discussed the reasoning behind the court's judgement, public and press reaction, and the constitutional implications of the Supreme Court's ruling.
- Brexit, Federalism and Scottish Independence (13 February 2017)
Jim Gallagher has suggested that the return of powers from Brussels not only to Whitehall, but also the devolved governments, presents an opportunity to move the UK towards a confederal constitution (Constitution Unit Blog 10 October). Kezia Dugdale has called for a People's Constitutional Convention to devise a new Act of Union. Kenny MacAskill sees some advantages in a confederal solution, and federalism is a longstanding policy aim of the Liberal Democrats. These issues and more were discussed at this Constitution Unit seminar.
MediaCentral Widget Placeholderhttps://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Play/6020
- LGBT Candidates in UK Elections: How much has changed? (6 March 2017)
Recent research shows that the UK parliament has more openly LGBT members than any other legislature in the world. This seminar will brought together the author of that research - Professor Andrew Reynolds of the University of North Carolina - and four of the UK's most prominent LGBT politicians. It will explored how the barriers faced by LGBT candidates and politicians have changed in the UK , why the UK appears to stand out so far among liberal democracies in the presence of openly LGBT politicians, and whether any problems remain.
MediaCentral Widget Placeholderhttps://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Player/6093
- Brexit at Westminster: Can Parliament play a meaningful role? (12 March 2017)
Brexit presents Parliament with daunting challenges, politically and procedurally. Every Select Committee has an interest, and over 40 committee inquiries have been launched. A new Brexit Committee of twice the normal size was established in October. At this seminar, its Chair, Hilary Benn, spoke about the challenges it faces; Baroness Kishwer Falkner explained the work of the Lords EU Committee and its sub-Committees; and Commons legal adviser Arnold Ridout spoke about the Brexit work of the other Select Committees in the Commons.
MediaCentral Widget Placeholderhttps://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Play/6031
- Devolution in England (10 April 2017)
Professor Tony Travers (LSE) spoke about the prospects for further devolution in England, in an age of greater austerity and growing uncertainty post-Brexit.
- Ruth Davidson 'Nationalism should not be confused with patriotism' - our divided politics (15 May 2017)
The Orwell Prize Shortlist Lecture 2017, Ruth Davidson MSP, Leader of the Scottish Conservatives, discussed partiotism, nationalism and the current state of politics in the United Kingdom.
- Reassessing the Fixed Term Parliaments Act (22 May 2017)
This event featured a debate between two legal experts, Carl Gardner (author of What a Fix Up!) and Professor Gavin Phillipson (Durham University).
- Parliament's biggest test: The EU Withdrawal Bill (12 September 2017)
The prospects for the Withdrawal Bill's passage were discussed by the BBC's parliamentary correspondent Mark D'Arcy and Ruth Fox, Director of the Hansard Society: they assesses the balance of forces in each House, and the main amendments which were proposed.
- Legislation at Westminster: The impact of parliament on government bills (15 November 2017)
Meg Russell's latest book Legislation at Westminster, co-authored with Daniel Gover, demonstrates that parliament has much greater influence over legislation than is often supposed. She discussed the book at this seminar.
Vimeo Widget Placeholderhttps://vimeo.com/251309424
- Organising a Snap Election: At the centre, on the ground, and in Parliament (20 November 2017)
In April the Prime Minister announced a snap general election to be held on 8 June. This created a six month hiatus in Parliament, with legislation rushed through before the election, and then a long delay before Parliament was fully up and running again. Meanwhile election officials had just seven weeks to prepare for polling day. In this seminar we discusses the preparations necessary for a snap election.
Vimeo Widget Placeholderhttps://vimeo.com/251777437
- Citizens' Assemblies on Brexit: What kind of Brexit do people want? (13 December 2017)
In September the Constitution Unit convened a Citizens' Assembly to engage in detailed, reflective and informed discussions about what the UK's post-Brexit relations with the European Union should be. 50 members of the public - carefully selected to reflect the diversity of the UK's population - met over two weekends in Manchester. Its findings were presented at this seminar.
- Individual Electoral Registration: The Inside Story (25 January 2016)
Individual electoral registration has been a huge project, running for several years, and requiring tight co-ordination between the Cabinet Office, Government Digital Service, Electoral Commission, and individual Electoral Registration officers in local authorities. Representatives from all four bodies will spoke at this seminar about the challenges they faced, and how the project was brought to a successful conclusion.
Vimeo Widget Placeholderhttps://vimeo.com/154331190
- Citizens' Assemblies and Democracy in the UK: Lessons from Two Successful Pilots (10 February 2016)
Two pilot citizens' assemblies were held in Sheffield and Southampton in autumn 2015. The speakers, Dr Alan Renwick, The Constitution Unit and Katie Ghose, Electoral Reform Society discuss - both members of the team that ran these assemblies - presented evidence on how well they functioned and discussed the degree to which they engaged citizens in policy-making.
Vimeo Widget Placeholderhttps://vimeo.com/156712955
- The Human Rights Act 1998: Past, Present and Future (7 March 2016)
The UK government intends to replace the Human Rights Act with a new 'British Bill of Rights'. However, any change to existing human rights law promises to be a complex and difficult project. Reform of the HRA has the potential to impact upon devolution, as well as on the UK's relationship with its European partners. It also risks generating greater legal complexity and may dilute rights protection. This seminar explored the state of play and considered the past, present and future of the HRA.
- The Policy Impact of Parliament (15 March 2016)
The Westminster parliament is classically presented as a rather weak institution with respect to the all-powerful UK executive. But is this really the case? A major workstream at the Constitution Unit in past years has focused on the policy impact of parliament - including both the Commons and the Lords. Various publications have argued that Westminster is far more influential than commonly assumed, in part due to changes such as reform of the Lords in 1999 and growth in select committees, and in part, because common assumptions about how parliamentary power is exercised are too simplistic. This seminar drew on extensive research by two of the leading academic experts on the Westminster parliament, with practitioner input from a parliamentarian whose work featured in the 2015 BBC series 'Inside the Commons'. The event was organised in collaboration with the Hansard Society and the Parliament and Constitution Centre of the House of Commons Library.
- Brexit: Its Consequences for Westminster & Whitehall (21 April 2016)
This seminar considered the implications for Whitehall and Westminster both of Brexit itself and of the process of negotiating Brexit. How would Whitehall manage the negotiating process and what would be the role of Westminster? How would the UK's new relationship with the EU be managed post-Brexit? Would Brexit require a re-configuration within Whitehall or Westminster?
Chair: Dr Nick Wright, Teaching Fellow in EU Politics at UCL
Vimeo Widget Placeholderhttps://vimeo.com/165268868
Speakers include:Sir Simon Fraser, former Permanent Under Secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Professor Hussein Kassim, UEA, co-author of The European Commission of the Twenty-First Century Lord Lisvane, former Clerk of the House of Commons
- Brexit: Its Consequences for the EU political system (5 May 2016)
How would Brussels manage the negotiation process, constitutionally and politically? What would be the short-term institutional consequences of Brexit for the UK's MEPs, the 2017 UK Presidency, and voting rights in the Council of Ministers? In the long run, how would Brexit impact on the balance of power between member states in the EU's policy-process?
Speakers include:Professor Kenneth Armstrong, Professor of European Law, University of Cambridge Professor Simon Hix, Harold Laski Professor of Political Science, LSE Sir Stephen Wall, Official Historian at the Cabinet Office and former Permanent Representative to the European Union
Vimeo Widget Placeholderhttps://vimeo.com/167131532
Chair:Dr Christine Reh, Senior Lecturer in European Politics at UCL
- Brexit: Its Consequences for Devolution and the Union (19 May 2016)
What will happen if the UK votes to leave the EU, but a majority in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland vote to remain? Will such an outcome trigger a second Scottish referendum on independence? Would Wales or Northern Ireland follow suit? What would the broader implications of Brexit be for the devolved areas of the UK, for example in terms of loss of EU funding?
Speakers include:Professor Sionaidh Douglas-Scott, QMUL, author of Constitutional Law of the European Union Jim Gallagher, former Director General, Devolution Strategy, Cabinet Office; Visiting Professor, University of Glasgow; Associate Member, Nuffield College, Oxford Professor Cathy Gormley-Heenan, Professor of Politics, University of Ulster Dr Rachel Minto, Research Associate, Centre for European Law and Governance, Cardiff School of Law and Politics
Vimeo Widget Placeholderhttps://vimeo.com/168454709
Chair:Professor Robert Hazell, Professor of Government and the Constitution at UCL
- Things flying apart? Analysing the results of the devolved elections (25 May 2016)
On 5 May voters go to the polls for the devolved assembly elections in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The next five years will be critical for devolution and the future of the Union, with devolution of significant tax powers to Scotland, further powers for Wales, and the promise of a fresh start in Northern Ireland. Much will depend on the new assemblies and the governments they elect. A panel of three distinguished electoral and political experts will discuss the implications for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and for the rest of the UK
- Brexit: Its Consequences for Other Member States (2nd June 2016)
What are the likely effects of Brexit on politics within other member states? Would Brexit change remaining member states' relationships with the EU? Would it affect decision-making within member states? We will explore how these issues might play out in a diverse range of member states, including Ireland - the UK's closest neighbour - long-standing member states such as Germany and the Netherlands, and newer members such as Poland and Romania.
Speakers include:Agata Gostyńska-Jakubowska, Research Fellow at the Centre for European Reform and former Senior Research Fellow at the Polish Institute of International Affairs Dr Sara Hagemann, Assistant Professor, LSE European Institute Alan Posener, Correspondent on Politics and Society for Die Welt Brian O'Connell, UK Consultant Director of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce and former London Editor for RTE News
Vimeo Widget Placeholderhttps://vimeo.com/170762863
Chair:Dr Alan Renwick, Deputy Director of the Constitution Unit
- The UCL EU Referendum Debate: To Remain or To Leave? (16 June 2016)
Following the shocking murder of the MP for Batley and Spen, Jo Cox, campaigning for the EU referendum was suspended on 16 June 2016. The planned UCL EU Referendum Debate, which had been due to feature leading figures from both campaigns, was therefore changed into a Meet the Experts Q&A. A panel of academics with expertise in the politics and economics of the EU and the processes around the referendum answered a wide range of questions from audience members.
The panellists were:Professor Anand Menon, Professor of European Politics and Foreign Affairs at King's College London and Director of the UK in a Changing Europe initiative Dr Swati Dhingra, Lecturer in Economics at the London School of Economics and at the LSE's Centre for Economic Performance Dr Simon Usherwood, Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Surrey and Fellow of the UK in a Changing Europe initiative Dr Alan Renwick, Deputy Director of the Constitution Unit at UCL.
Read the blog post >
The event was organised by the UCL Constitution Unit, UCL School of Public Policy, and UCL European Institute.
YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYpjAlLQ_VM
Professor Meg Russell, Director of the Constitution Unit
- Five years as Lords Speaker: Reflections on the Lords and its Future (20 July 2016)
The position of Lord Speaker is very different to that of Speaker of the House of Commons, and much less well understood. In this event Baroness D'Souza reflected on her term of office in discussion with Meg Russell, outlining the Lord Speaker's role, the highs and lows of the last five years, her achievements and her hopes for the future - including the future of the Lord Speaker position, and more generally of the House of Lords. The discussion was informal and wide ranging, and was followed by questions from the audience.
- Book Launch: 'Faces on the Ballot: The Personalization of Electoral Systems in Europe' (26 July 2016)
The publication earlier in 2016 of Alan Renwick's new book, Faces on the Ballot: The Personalization of Electoral Systems in Europe was celebrated in late July with a launch event held at UCL. Dr Renwick introduced the book, which he co-authored with Professor Jean-Benoit Pilet of the Université libre de Bruxelles and which is published by Oxford University Press. He also discussed implications for current electoral reform debates in the UK. Three leading expert experts on electoral systems then presented their responses to the book: Professor Justin Fisher (Brunel University), Professor Roger Scully (Cardiff University), and Darren Hughes (Deputy Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society). The Unit's Dr Jennifer vanHeerde-Hudson chaired.
Vimeo Widget Placeholderhttps://vimeo.com/179156981 Vimeo Widget Placeholderhttps://vimeo.com/178586909
- The Regulation of the EU Referendum (15 September 2016)
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 explored these and other questions with four speakers who were uniquely well placed to provide a broad range of fresh insights.
Vimeo Widget Placeholderhttps://vimeo.com/189134345
- English Votes for English Laws: One Year on: A Critical Evaluation (28 November 2016)
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 marked the publication of a major new report by Michael Kenny and Daniel Gover about EVEL's first year in operation, which set out the results of an in-depth academic investigation into the reform. It included detailed analysis of how the new procedures have worked in practice, and also raised questions about their wider constitutional implications. The authors propose a number of changes to the current system and discussed their main recommendations at this seminar.
- Public Appointments: Should Ministers Have more control? (8 December 2016)
Earlier in 2016, the Government published Sir Gerry Grimstone's report on public appointments proposing major changes to the way in which Ministerial appointments to public bodies are regulated. Sir David Normington, the former Commissioner for Public Appointments and an outspoken critic of the proposals, reviewed the arguments for and against giving Ministers more control over public appointments. He discussed the background to the report, explained why, in his view, it represented a step in the wrong direction and examined what has happened since the report was published.