The Constitution Unit


Unit publishes briefing paper on Brexit and announces UCL EU referendum debate speakers

4 May 2016

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On 21 April, the Constitution Unit hosted its first Brexit seminar. Our panellists - Lord Lisvane, former Clerk of the House of Commons, Sir Simon Fraser, former Permanent Under-Secretary of the Foreign Office and Professor Hussein Kassim, author of The European Commission of the Twenty-First Century - discussed the impact that Brexit would have on Whitehall and Westminster.

This briefing paper, written by Nicholas Wright and Oliver Patel, explores this topic in further depth. Drawing on the seminar, it asks: what are the immediate political consequences of a vote to leave the EU? What would the withdrawal process entail and how would it impact on Parliament and the civil service? And, what would be the long-term impact of Brexit on Whitehall and Westminster? The evidence indicates that Brexit would have a significant impact on Whitehall and Westminster, especially during the withdrawal process.

The paper is part of a wider project for the UK and the EU. The project consists of a series of seminars, with each seminar followed by a briefing paper and video on the same topic. There are three more seminars and a major debate prior to the referendum, details of which can be found here.

Read briefing paper

The Unit also announces today the speakers for the UCL EU Referendum Debate: To Remain or To Leave? on Thursday 16 June, one week before the referendum. 


  • Laura Sandys, Chair of the European Movement and former Conservative MP for South Thanet.
  • Chuka Umunna, Labour MP for Streatham, was Shadow Business Secretary from 2011 to 2015 and is a now a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee.  


  • Jacob Rees-Mogg, Conservative MP for North East Somerset, is a member of the European Scrutiny Committee and Treasury Committee.
  • Further speaker to be announced

Expert Commentators

  • Swati Dhingra, Lecturer at the Department of Economics at LSE and Associate at the Centre for Economic Performance.
  • Anand Menon, Professor of European Politics and Foreign Affairs at King's College London and Director of the UK in a Changing Europe Initiative.
  • Simon Usherwood, Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Surrey.


  • Professor Meg Russell, Director or the Constitution Unit.

Register for debate

Related links 

This project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council's The UK in a Changing Europe initiative