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Is the UK Unsustainable? Brexit, Territorial Politics and the Constitution
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
Professor Dan Wincott
UK in a Changing Europe and Cardiff University