Options for an English Parliament
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).
- Blog posts
Thursday, 12 October 2017
Ongoing Constitution Unit research is exploring options for an English Parliament. Two of the most fundamental questions concern what policy powers such a body would have and financial arrangements. Jack Sheldon suggests that an English Parliament would be likely to have policy and fiscal powers resembling those of the Scottish Parliament, and that a new […]
Friday, 01 September 2017
Ongoing Constitution Unit research is exploring options for an English Parliament. One essential question for such a body is the choice of electoral system. In this post Jack Sheldon and Meg Russell focus on the possible implications of using FPTP as compared to using AMS or another proportional system. They conclude that the choice of […]
Monday, 27 February 2017
Last year the Constitution Unit began work on a project exploring the options for an English Parliament. As part of this research we are examining arrangements in other decentralised states, particularly those which are federal, to draw out lessons for the design of political institutions were an English Parliament to be established. Jack Sheldon and […]
What might an English Parliament look like? The Constitution Unit is consulting on the design options
Thursday, 24 November 2016
The Constitution Unit has recently begun work on a new project examining the design options for an English Parliament. This was once seen as an unrealistic proposal but support has grown in recent years and it therefore now deserves to be taken more seriously. Nonetheless many major questions about what an English Parliament might actually […]
Monday, 22 September 2014
Although a Yes vote would have meant a very obvious change to the existing constitutional structure of the UK, the consequences of the No vote will still be complex and profound. The outcome has already put contentious issues such as the West Lothian question back on the agenda, writes Meg Russell. This article originally appeared in the Observer. […]