This project is funded through Constitution Unit Director Meg Russell's Senior Fellowship with the ESRC-funded UK in a Changing Europe (UKICE) programme, which runs for three years, from June 2019 to May 2022. Meg is one of nine such Senior Fellows focused on a variety of Brexit-related fields.
The Fellowship comprises two main elements. The first is to work alongside the UKICE team to facilitate events and commentary on key topics around the broad topic of ‘Brexit, Parliament and the Constitution’. Recent examples include:
- Meg Russell's appearance on the National Constitution Center's We The People podcast, discussing the question 'Is Brexit a British Constitutional Crisis?'
- Commentary on the government's proposed programme for the Withdrawal Agreement Bill.
- Meg Russell's appearance on BBC Radio 4's World at One on 14 October, discussing the Queen's Speech.
- Meg Russell's evidence to the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee on prorogation and the Supreme Court judgment on 8 October 2019.
- A panel discussion of Brexit, Parliament and the Constitution at UCL's It's All Academic Festival on 5 October 2019.
- Appearances by Meg Russell on the UK in a Changing Europe podcast, on 18 September and 27 September 2019.
- Appearance on a special edition of BBC Radio 4's The Briefing Room on the UK constitution after the Supreme Court ruling, on 26 September 2019.
- An article in the Guardian on 6 September, about the strains recent Brexit events have put on parliament and the constitution.
- A widely-shared interview on BBC Radio 4's World at One Programme on 28 August, discussing the recently-announced prorogation.
- Meg Russell's appearance on the Prospect podcast on 14 August 2019, discussing a possible vote of no confidence and 'unity' government.
- A detailed interview with Meg Russell on the BBC Radio 4 PM Programme on 9 August discussing what MPs can do to block a 'no deal' Brexit
- Evidence to the House of Commons Exiting the European Union Committee on on prospects for a further Brexit referendum on 24 July 2019.
- A conference held on 15 July 2019 on 'Brexit and the Constitution' - watch a video of Meg Russell's panel at the conference.
Meg Russell has also authored or co-authored numerous posts on the Constitution Unit blog relating to these topics.
The second part of the project will comprise detailed research and publications focussed on Brexit and parliament. The first of these - The Mechanics of a Further Referendum on Brexit Revisited: Questions for the New Parliament - was published in December 2019. The report examines the scenarios under which a further referendum on Brexit could take place in the new parliament, and the key questions its designers would face.
It is anticipated that the project publications will address three main topics:
- The relationship and tensions between principles of direct and representative democracy in the UK constitution.
- The extent and shape of parliament’s influence over the Brexit process.
- What the Brexit process has told us about the need for possible future parliamentary reforms.
This work will build on various past work conducted by Meg Russell, including the Independent Commission on Referendums, her work on the policy impact of the Westminster parliament, and various projects on parliamentary reform, including the project on parliament’s control of its own agenda that helped lay the groundwork for the 2009 recommendations by the ‘Wright committee’.
The research will result in various outputs, including blogposts, academic journal articles, reports and a likely book.
This project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council’s The UK in a Changing Europe initiative.