Panel discussion

Is the UK Unsustainable? Brexit, Territorial Politics and the Constitution

17 April 2019, Nottingham

This roundtable panel brings together leading experts on Brexit the politics of various nations and jurisdictions that make up the UK for a discussion of the challenges and opportunities posed for the UK constitution and its territorial politics during a key period in its development. Part of the PSA Annual International Conference 2019 in Nottingham, UK.

Brexit has triggered ongoing transformation processes in the practices and discourses around the UK’s constitution. It has engendered profoundly contentious debates over fundamental questions about the government of territory across the UK. Neither Scottish independence nor Irish unification are new possibilities, but Brexit casts a different light on each of them. Should either Northern Ireland or Scotland leave the UK, the remainder of the state would be even more profoundly unbalanced. What of England, the largest, richest part of the Kingdom? Brexit has intensified debates about its future and, it seems, has politicised English national identity. England is governed by highly centralised, UK-wide institutions - qualified by a patchwork of asymmetrical forms of decentralising devolution focused on its major cities. 

Brexit is posing major challenges to the UK’s comparatively undeveloped system of intergovernmental relations.The response has been a peculiar mixture of intensive new collaborative work (for example, through the Joint Ministerial Committee on European Negotiations) and open hostility (such as the passage of the EU Withdrawal Act without legislative consent from Scotland). 



Professor John Denham

University of Winchester

Professor John Garry

Queen’s University Belfast

Professor Nicola McEwen

University of Edinburgh

Dr Rachel Minto

Cardiff University


Professor Dan Wincott

UK in a Changing Europe and Cardiff University

Nottingham Conference Centre
Burton Street
NG1 4BU Nottingham