The Constitution Unit


Devolution and the Union

4 December 2020 - How will devolution and the Union change post-Brexit?

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As the final part of the Constitution Unit’s 25th anniversary celebrations, we examined devolution and the Union. Devolution had a deceptively easy start in the UK, thanks to Labour-controlled governments in London, Edinburgh and Cardiff, the breakthrough of the Good Friday Agreement in Belfast, and lack of interest in England. But with the election of governments of different persuasions tensions have grown, and been hugely exacerbated by the rupture of Brexit. To chart this increasingly bumpy ride, and discuss whether the Union can survive, we had four academic experts, one from each part of the UK:

  • Professor John Denham is Director of the Centre for English Identity and Politics at the University of Southampton and Director of the Southern Policy Centre. He is a former Labour MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee.
  • Cathy Gormley-Heenan is Professor of Politics and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Ulster University. She is an expert on Northern Irish politics and the politics of peace processes and divided societies, and has published a notable range of articles and reports on Northern Ireland’s peace walls. She is also a member of the Working Group on Unification Referendums on the Island of Ireland
  • Michael Keating is Professor of Politics at the University of Aberdeen, and Director of the Centre on Constitutional Change. He is the author or editor of over thirty books on Scottish politics, European politics, nationalism and regionalism.
  • Laura McAllister is Professor of Public Policy and the Governance of Wales at the Wales Governance Centre. Her research centres on Welsh politics, devolution, electoral reform, and gender. She works closely with the National Assembly for Wales on constitutional and political matters, most recently as Chair of the Expert Panel on Assembly Reform.
  • Chaired by Professor Robert Hazell, Professor of Government and the Constitution and former Director of the Constitution Unit.