The Constitution Unit


Previous seminars and events


Representation in Britain

Date: 18 June 2018, 6.30pm
Speakers: Prof Rosie Campbell, Birkbeck; Dr Sofia Collignon Delmar, Royal Holloway; Dr Stefanie Reher, Strathclyde; Dr Javier Sajuria, Queen Mary; Dr Maria Sobolewska, Manchester; Lord Hayward, Conservative Party; Dr Jennifer Hudson (Chair), Constitution Unit

Due to the location of this event, no recording was made

Bicameralismo e processo legislativo nel Regno Unito e in Italia (Held in Rome in Italian)

Date: 12 June 2018, 9.30am
Speakers: Annibale Ferrari, Camera dei Deputati; Meg Russell, Constitution Unit; Giovanni Rizzoni, Camera dei Deputati; Francesco Zucchini and Andrea Pedrazzani, Università degli Studi di Milano; Giovanni Tarli Barbieri, Università degli Studi di Firenze; Antonio Malaschini, Ministero dell'Economia e delle Finanze; Andrea Frangioni, Camera dei Deputati; Roberta Damiani, Constitution Unit; Andrea Manzella and Nicola Lupo, LUISS

Due to the location of this event, no recording was made

The challenges of reforming upper houses in the UK and Italy (Held in Rome in English)

Date: 11 June 2018, 3pm
Speakers: Nicola Lupo, LUISS; Meg Russell, Constitution Unit; Carlo Fusaro, Università di Firenze; Francesca Rosa,  Università di Foggia; Claudio Tucciarelli, Camera dei Deputati; Mario Midiri, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia; Cristina Fasone, Giovanni Piccirilli and Carmela Decaro, LUISS

Due to the location of this event, no recording was made

Planning the next Accession and Coronation

Date: 30 May 2018, 6.15pm
Speakers: Prof Robert Hazell, Professor of Government and the Constitution, Constitution Unit; Dr Bob Morris, Formerly Home Office Under Secretary responsible for Constitutional Affairs. Leader of the Unit's work on Church and State

Regulating debate in elections and referendums

Date: 15 May 2018, 1pm
Speakers: Dr Alan Renwick, Deputy Director of the Constitution Unit and director of the research project 'Discourse during Election and Referendum Campaigns'; Dr Jane Suiter, Director of the Institute for Future Media and Journalism at Dublin City University and expert on referendums in Ireland; Lord (George) Foulkes of Cumnock, Labour peer and member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe; Prof Robert Hazell (Chair), Professor of Government and the Constitution, Constitution Unit

Unfortunately, due to a technical error, there is no recording available for this event.

Political polling and digital media

Date: 17 April 2018, 1pm
Speakers:Lord Lipsey, Chair of the Lords ad hoc Committee on Polling and Digital Media; Baroness Jay, Member of the Committee on Polling and Digital Media; Will Jennings, Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, University of Southampton; Martin Boon, ex-pollster at ICM Unlimited; Jennifer Hudson (Chair), Senior Lecturer in Political Behaviour, Constitution Unit

Intimidation of candidates and others in public life

Date: 21 March 2018, 6pm
Speakers: Lord Bew, Chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life; Jane Ramsey, member of the Committee on Standards in Public Life; Sofia Collignon Delmar, Lecturer in Political Communication, Royal Hollway, University of London; Jennifer Hudson (Chair), Senior Lecturer in Political Behaviour, Constitution Unit
> Download Sofia's slides

Online targeting of voters in social media

Date: 13 February 2018, 6pm
Speaker: Dr Martin Moore, Director of the Centre for the Study of Media, Communication and Power, and Senior Research Fellow in the Policy Institute at King's College London

Dominic Grieve QC MP: 'A backbenchers view of Brexit'

Date: 23 January 2018, 7.45pm
This event was the inaugural annual lecture of The Constitution Society, hosted by the Constitution Unit.
> Read a summary of Dominic's speech on our blog

Taking a Deliberative Approach to Complexity: What can we learn from the Citizens' Assembly on Brexit?

Date: 23 January 2018, 1.30pm
This seminar, held in Edinburgh, examined what we can learn from the experience of holding a Citizens' Assembly about Brexit and considered the role of participatory processes like this in current decision-making in Scotland. 

The Independent Commission on Referendums: who, what, why and how

Date: 17 January 2018, 1pm
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. The Commission is meeting monthly, and intends to report in the summer of 2018. 
> Watch video

Citizens' Assembly on Brexit: what kind of Brexit do people want?

Date: 13 December 2017, 6pm
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. 

Organising a snap election: at the centre, on the ground, and in Parliament

Date: 20 November 2017, 1pm
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.
> Watch video

Legislation at Westminster: the impact of parliament on government bills

Date: 15 November 2017, 6pm
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. 
> Watch video

Parliament's biggest test: the EU Withdrawal Bill

Date: 13 September 2017, 1pm 
Speakers: Mark D'Arcy, BBC and Ruth Fox, Hansard Society. Chair: Dr Alan Renwick, Deputy Director of the Constitution Unit 

Unfortunately, due to a technical error, there is no recording available for this event. You can find a summary of the event on the Constitution Unit Blog.


Reassessing the Fixed Term Parliaments Act
Date: 22 May 2017, 6pm
Speakers: Carl Gardner, author of What a Fix-Up!; Prof Gavin Phillipson, Durham University
"Nationalism should not be confused with patriotism" - our divided politics
Date: 15 May 2017, 6.30pm
The Orwell Prize Shortlist Lecture 2017, Ruth Davidson MSP, Leader of the Scottish Conservatives 
Download speech
Devolution in England  
Date: 10 April 2017, 1pm
Speaker: Tony Travers, LSE
Download slides
Video is not available
Brexit at Westminster: Can Parliament play a meaningful role?
Date: 13 March 2017, 12.30pm
Speakers: Hilary Benn, Labour MP and Chair, House of Commons Exiting the European Union Select Committee; Arnold Ridout, Clerk of European Legislation, House of Commons; Baroness (Kishwer) Falkner, Chair, House of Lords EU Committee Sub-Committee on Financial Affairs
Watch video >
LGBT Candidates in UK Elections: How Much Has Changed?
Date: 6 March 2017, 1pm
Speakers: Andrew Reynolds, Professor of Political Science, University of North Carolina; Baroness (Liz) Barker, Liberal Democrats; Joanna Cherry MP, SNP; Angela Eagle MP, Labour; Rt Hon Nick Herbert MP, Arundel and South Downs
Download Professor Andrew Reynolds' slides
Watch video >
Brexit, Federalism and Scottish Independence
Date: 13 February 2017, 6pm
Speakers: Kenny Farquharson, Chair; Senior writer, The Times Scotland; Professor Jim Gallagher, Nuffield College, Oxford; Kenny MacAskill, former SNP Justice Minister in Scotland; Kezia Dugdale, Leader of the Scottish Labour Party; Baroness (Jenny) Randerson, former Liberal Democrats Minister, Wales Office
Watch video >
Brexit in the Supreme Court: the Case of the Century
Date: 30 January 2017
Speakers: Joshua Rozenberg, BBC Law in Action; Sir Stephen Laws, former First Parliamentary Counsel; Professor Sionaidh Douglas-Scott, Queen Mary University of London; Jessica Simor QC, Counsel in the Supreme Court Appeal
Video is not available


Public Appointments: should Ministers have more control?
Date: 8 December 2016, 1pm
Speaker: Sir David Normington
Video is not available
English Votes for English Laws One Year on: a critical evaluation
Date: 28 November 2016, 6pm
Speakers: Michael Kenny, Professor of Politics, Mile End Institute; Daniel Gover, Research Fellow, Mile End Institute
This seminar was not filmed.
The Regulation of the EU Referendum
Date: 15 September 2016, 1pm
Speakers: Jenny Watson, Chair of the Electoral Commission; Ric Bailey, Chief Adviser, Politics, BBC; Sir Peter Housden, Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government 2010-15; Dr Paul Kildea, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of NSW
Watch video > 
All aboard the Constitutional Express? Where is the Scotland Bill taking the UK?
Date: 10 September 2015, 6pm
Speaker: Professor Jim Gallagher (Oxford University)
Legislating for the Long Goodbye: How might Parliament handle the Brexit process?
Date: 15 September 2015, 1pm
Speakers: 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.
All aboard the Constitutional Express? Where is the Scotland Bill taking the UK?
Date: 10 September 2015, 6pm
Speaker: Professor Jim Gallagher (Oxford University)
The EU Referendum: Public Information and Regulation of Campaigning
Date: 17 September 2015, 6pm
Speaker: Professor Jack Vowles (Auckland) & Professor Sara Hobolt (LSE)
Watch Jack Vowles video
Watch Sara Hobolt video
The Future of the BBC
Date: 19 October 2015, 6pm
Speaker: Lord Fowler
Watch video >
50 fewer MPs: challenges for the next constituencies review?
Date: 27 October 2015, 6pm
Speaker: Prof Ron Jonston & Tony Bellringer
Britain's New Political Class: All Change in the House?
Date: 30 November 2015, 6pm
Speaker: Dr Jennifer Hudson,
Watch video >
Social Union in a New Era of Devolution
Date: 3 December 2015, 6pm
Speaker: Angus Robertson MP
Watch video >
Individual electoral registration: the inside story
Date: 25 January 2016, 6pm
Speakers: Gareth Baynham-Hughes, Electoral Registration Team, Cabinet Office
Frances Biggs, Head of Electoral Registration Southwark
Mark O'Neill, Government Digital Service
Andrew Scallan, Director of Electoral Administration, Electoral Commission
Watch video >
Citizens' Assemblies and Democracy in the UK: Lessons from Two Successful Pilots
Date: 10 February 2016, 1pm
Speakers: Dr Alan Renwick, The Constitution Unit and Katie Ghose, Electoral Reform Society
Watch video >
The Human Rights Act 1998: Past, Present and Future
Date: 7 March 2016, 6pm
Speakers: Professor Colm O'Cinneide, UCL Laws and Dr Jeff King, UCL Laws
The Policy Impact of Parliament
Date: 15 March 2016, 6pm
Speakers: Professor Meg Russell, Constitution Unit and Professor Philip Cowley, QMUL and Sarah Champion MP
Things flying apart? Analysing the results of the devolved elections
Date: 25 May 2016, 1pm
Speakers: Prof Cathy Gormley-Heenan, Director of the Institute for Research in Social Sciences, University of Ulster Prof Ailsa Henderson, Head of Politics and International Relations, University of Edinburgh, Prof Roger Scully, Professor of Political Science, Cardiff University
Five years as Lord Speaker: reflections on the Lords and its future
A conversation with Baroness D'Souza.
Date: 20 July 2016, 6pm
Speakers: Professor Meg Russell, Constitution Unit and Baroness D'Souza
The UK and Europe Seminar Series and Briefing Papers
Brexit: Its Consequences for Whitehall and Westminster
Brexit: Its Consequences for the EU Political System
Brexit: Its Consequences for Devolution and the Union
Brexit: Its Consequences for Other Member States
April - June 2016
Book launch: "Faces on the Ballot: The Personalization of Electoral Systems in Europe" by Alan Renwick and Jean-Benoit Pilet.
Date: 26 July 2016, 6pm
Speakers: Professor Justin Fisher, Brunel University
Professor Roger Scully, Cardiff University
Darren Hughes, Deputy Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society
Dr Jennifer vanHeerde-Hudson, (Chair) Constitution Unit, UCL
Watch video >


Succession to the Crown of Canada - The Court Challenge and the Consequences
Date: 18 September 2014
Professor Anne Twomey (University of Sydney)

Watch video >

The Day After Judgement: Scotland and the UK after the referendum
Date: 22 October 2014
Professor Iain McLean & Professor Jim Gallagher (Oxford University)
A Constitutional Convention for the UK: What Form Should It Take?
Date: 12 November 2014
Dr Alan Renwick (University of Reading) & Katie Ghose (ERS)
Watch video >
Extreme Devolution: How it works in Bermuda
Date: 1 December 2014
George Fergusson (Governor of Bermuda)
Reforming Electoral Law
Date: 28 January 2015
Nicholas Paines QC & Henni Ouahes (Law Commission)
watch video >
'Austerity, inequality and the Scottish approach to economic growth'
Date: 11 February 2015
The Right Honourable Nicola Sturgeon MSP (First Minister of Scotland)
Farewell to the Commons: Reflections on parliamentary change over 40 years
Date: 4 March 2015, 6pm
Rt Hon Sir George Young MP & Rt Hon Jack Straw MP
Forecasting the 2015 Election result, and preparing for a hung Parliament
Date: 12 March 2015
Sir Gus O'Donnell and David Cowling (BBC)
The 2010 Parliament - and a look forward
Date: 14 March 2015
Lord Lisvane, formerly Sir Robert Rogers
Coalition or Minority Government in May?
Date: 15 April 2015
Professor Robert Hazell & Peter Riddell (Institute for Government)
A Roundtable on 2015: The Campaign & General Election in Review
Date:3 June 2015, 6pm
Rosie Campbell, Justin Fisher, Matt Goodwin, Ben Lauderdale & Joe Twyman
Watch videos >
The New Government's Constitutional Reform Programme
Date: 8 June 2015
Robert Hazell & Fraser Nelson (The Spectator)
watch videos >
Repealing the Human Rights Act: what will replace it?
Date: 30 June 2015 
Martin Howe QC

2013 - 14

The Committee on Standards in Public Life-a new lease of life after 19 yrs - Prof Peter Riddell & Richard Thomas CBE LLD (2 Oct 2013)
watch video of Prof Peter Riddell >
watch video of Richard Thomas >
Scotland's Choices: What Does 'No' Mean? - Prof Jim Gallagher (16 Oct 2013)
watch video >
The House of Lords: Westminster Bicameralism Revived - Dr Meg Russell & Mark D'Arcy (12 Nov 2013)
watch video of Dr Meg Russell >
watch video of Mark D'Arcy >
Exploring Constitute: A New Tool for Searching National Constitutions - Dr James Melton (11 Dec 2013)
watch video >
Accountability and Leadership in 21st Century Whitehall - Bernard Jenkin MP (22 Jan 2014)
watch video >
Constitutional Reform in the Age of Arab Revolutions: Overcoming the Legacy of Totalitarianism - Zaid Al-Ali (10 Feb 2014)
watch video >
Parliament's Role in the Use of Military Action After the Syria Vote: the New Constitutional Convention and the Next Steps - Prof Gavin Phillipson (10 Mar 2014)
Reforming Electoral Administration, Preparing for the 2015 Election - Jenny Watson (26 Mar 2014)
watch video >
Fruitcakes, Loonies, Closet racists and Winners?: Europe, the European Elections and the Rise of Ukip - Joe Twyman (18 May 2014)
watch video >
The Irish Constitutional Convention, 2012-14 - Prof David Farrell (31 May 2014)
watch video >
What of Wales? Putting Wales at the heart of constitutional change in Britain - Leanne Wood AM (11 Jun 2014)
watch video >

2012 - 13

The Politics of Coalition - Prof Robert Hazell and Dr Ben Yong (Oct 2012)
Redesigning Press Regulation: Lessons from Overseas  - Lara Fielden (13 Nov 2012)
watch video >
The Role of the House of Lords in the Parliamentary Process - Baroness D'Souza (6 Dec 2013)
watch video >
Prospects for a British Bill of Rights - Sir Leigh Lewis (24 Jan 2013)
What Place for the Referendum in the UK? - Prof Vernon Bogdanor (21 Feb 2013)
Expertise and Policy: the Rise of the Government 'Tsar' - Dr Ruth Levitt and Stephen Boys Smith (21 Mar 2013)
watch video of Dr Ruth Levit >
watch video of Stephen Boys Smith >
Constitutional Role of Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman - Dame Julie Mellor (17 Apr 2013)
watch video >
Return to the West Lothian Question - Prof Charlie Jeffery and Sir Stephen Laws KCB (9 May 2013)
watch video of Sir Stephen Laws >
watch video of Prof Charlie Jeffery >
Civil Service Accountability - Guy Lodge and Sir Leigh Lewis (18 Jun 2013)
watch video of Guy Lodge >
watch video of Sir Leigh Lewis >


Changing the Rules of Succession and the Problem of the Realms - Prof Anne Twomey (27 Sept 2011)
House of Commons Reform: One Year Report - Sir George Young (30 Nov 2011)
Prospects for Lords Reform: a View from the Joint Committee - Baroness Symons and Lord Tyler (14 Dec 2011)
Parliamentary Boundaries Review - Prof Ron Johnston, Prof Charles Pattie and David Rossiter (11 Jan 2012)
Judicial Diversity - Prof Dame Hazel Genn (20 Feb 2012)
Referendum of Scottish Independence: the Law and the Politics - Robert Hazell and Alan Trench (12 Mar 2014)
Scrutinising Administrative Justice - Richard Thomas CBE (26 Apr 2012)
Elected Mayors - Lord Adonis and Jules Pipe (22 May 2012)
The Euro Crisis and its Implications for European Institutions - Charles Grant (13 Jun 2012)


Fixed Term Parliaments - Prof Robert Blackburn (18 Oct 2010)
Parliamentary Reform & the work of the Backbench Business Committee - Natascha Engel MP (17 Nov 2010)
The Liberal Democrats and the Coalition - Mark Pack (26 Jan 2011)
The New Cabinet Manual - Sir Gus O'Donnell (24 Feb 2011)
The Black Widow Effect? The Consequences of the Coalition for Clegg & Co. - Prof Tim Bale (11 Mar 2011)
The New Localism? - Prof Tony Travers (13 Apr 2011)
The Coalition and the Constitution - Prof Vernon Bogdanor (12 May 2011)
AV Referendum - Jenny Watson (15 Jun 2011)
Reforming Party Funding - Prof Justin Fisher (7 Jul 2011)


The Work of the House of Lords Appointments Commission Lord Jay of Ewelme, (22 Oct 2009
The Constitutional Debate about Scotland's Future - Michael Russell MSP (9 Nov 2009)
watch video >
Reforming Parliament - Dr Tony Wright (25 Nov 2009)
MPs' Expenses and Allowances - Sir Christopher Kelly (20 Jan 10)
Report Launch: The Conservative Agenda for Constitutional Reform - Robert Hazell (17 Feb 2010)
How to Ensure More Effective Transitions of Government - Peter Riddell (23 Mar 2010)
Pre-Appointment Scrutiny Hearings in the UK - Peter Waller and Mark Chalmers (14 Apr 2010)
New Politics and Old Politics in the House of Lords - Rt Hon Baroness
Reducing the size of the House of Commons and Equalising its Constituencies - Prof Ron Johnston (23 Jul 2010)


The Role of the Committee on Standards in Public Life - Sir Christopher Kelly (24 Feb 2009)
Regulating Surveillance - Prof Charles Raab & Dr Benjamin Goold Wednesday 29 April, 1pm
Church and State in 21st Britain: the Future of Church Establishment - Bob Morris & William Fittall (15 Jun 2009)
Opening speech: Bob Morris >

Response: William Fittall >

Building public confidence in our democracy: Putting voters first - Jenny Watson (30 Jun 2009)
Outgoing Information Commissioner's Valedictory Dispatch - Richard Thomas (7 Jul 2009)