The Constitution Unit


Options for an English Parliament

Union Flag and St Georges Cross

Ever since the establishment of the devolved assemblies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the late 1990s some have proposed that England too should have a parliament of its own. Although various individuals and groups have voiced such ideas, and a Campaign for an English Parliament was established in 1998, little detailed work has ever been done on design options for what an English Parliament might actually look like, partly because the proposal initially secured little mainstream support. In recent years, however, a growing number of senior politicians from across the party political spectrum have shown interest in an English Parliament as a possible solution to the ‘English question’.

This project hence explores the options for an English Parliament, including, among other things, the likely size, location, electoral system, powers and internal organisation of such a body, as well as the implications for Westminster and Whitehall. The purpose is not to advocate for or against an English Parliament but to provide objective evidence about the feasibility of different options and the likely challenges in constructing such a body.

The research is based on detailed analysis of existing devolution arrangements in the UK and overseas, as well as interviews with key proponents and opponents of an English Parliament. We also ran a consultation (now closed) to seek views on the key questions that we are examining. The main output from the project will be a Constitution Unit report, due to be published in autumn 2017.

  • The project is funded by the Nuffield Foundation, and runs from autumn 2016 to autumn 2017.
  • It is led by Professor Meg Russell, with Jack Sheldon as Research Assistant.
  • We are being advised by a steering group consisting of Professor John Denham (Winchester), Paul Evans (House of Commons), Professor Anna Gamper (Innsbruck), Oonagh Gay (formerly House of Commons Library), Professor Charlie Jeffery (Edinburgh), Professor Michael Kenny (Queen Mary), Akash Paun (Institute for Government) and Mark Sandford (House of Commons Library).

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