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 previously 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 explored 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 the UK's central political institutions (i.e. Westminster and Whitehall) and overall territorial structure. The purpose was 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 was 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. The main output from the project is a Constitution Unit report, published in March 2018.
Key findings were also published throughout the project in blog posts, all of which can be accessed at the bottom of the page.
- The project was funded by the Nuffield Foundation, and ran from autumn 2016 to February 2018.
- It was led by Professor Meg Russell, with Jack Sheldon as Research Assistant.
- We were advised by a steering group consisting of Professor John Denham (University of Winchester), Paul Evans (House of Commons), Professor Anna Gamper (University of Innsbruck), Oonagh Gay (formerly House of Commons Library), Professor Charlie Jeffery (University of Edinburgh), Professor Michael Kenny (University of Cambridge), Akash Paun (Institute for Government) and Mark Sandford (House of Commons Library).
- PDF of the final report Options for an English Parliament (140 pages)
- News story marking the publication of the report
- Summary blog post describing the key conclusions of the report
Jack Sheldon: Options for an English Parliament (The Cambridge Minute)
Jack Sheldon: Options for an English Parliament
Jack Sheldon breaks down the proposed possibilities.