Only a ‘reverse Greenland’ for Northern Ireland can resolve Brexit

Given the impasse over the future of the Northern Ireland border, argues Solon Solomon (Brunel University), the only solution is to implement a ‘reverse Greenland’ – where Northern Ireland would remain part of the EU. Boris Johnson recently tweeted a video of a baby making his first steps. He captioned it ‘Let’s get Brexit done’. Yet these baby steps post-Brexit […]

Northern Ireland depends on the EU’s fluid borders for survival

The prospect of a Brexit deal has foundered on the issue of the Northern Ireland border. Duncan Morrow (Ulster University) explains why the delicate relationship between Ireland and its dysfunctional neighbour depended on the EU’s fluid borders to survive. Any effort to ‘do’ Brexit on Johnson-DUP terms means that devolution in Northern Ireland will ‘die’, forcing an unpopular Westminster government […]

‘Are they even aware that we can see them?’ Working-class Britons on Brexit politics

Lisa Mckenzie (Durham University) revisits some of the people she talked to just after the referendum, and finds them very engaged with the politics of Brexit but more alienated than ever from ‘Westminster class’ politicking. This is my fourth post for LSE Brexit – and after my last plea for solidarity and empathy, and a recognition that the damage of […]

The Visegrad Group’s approach to Brexit has been a missed opportunity

The Visegrád Group had some success in influencing David Cameron’s renegotiation, but its ambition to influence the first stage of the Article 50 negotiations remained largely unfulfilled, writes Monika Brusenbauch Meislová (Masaryk University). The Visegrád Group (VG; also referred to as the Visegrád Four) is a multilateral platform of four Central and Eastern European states (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) which […]

Brexit is a chance to observe constitutional evolution in real time

To some, the UK’s unwritten constitution is an invitation to abuse, and Brexit has put it under strain. But Philip Allott (University of Cambridge) argues that its ability to evolve over centuries is a source of strength, and means that violent constitutional change is not necessary. Three things can be said of all human societies, from the family to the […]

Despite ‘Global Britain’, Britain will follow the European trade model for the next few years

The government would like to implement its vision for a ‘Global Britain’ after Brexit. But, says Stephen Woolcock (LSE), for the next few years at least companies are likely to favour the continuity of European trading practices. He looks at the factors shaping that preference. There are competing visions for British trade policy: ‘Global Britain’, which sees a sovereign Britain […]

We are still perilously close to Hailsham’s ‘elective dictatorship’

In the 1970s, Lord Hailsham warned that Britain was in danger of sinking into an ‘elective dictatorship’ because of the vulnerability of its constitutional arrangements. Julian Petley (Brunel University London) says his warning, which was aimed at the left, is more relevant than ever as Boris Johnson’s government tries to impose its will on Parliament. Not only did Boris Johnson attempt […]

How Brexit reinvigorated the Welsh independence movement

A growing number of Welsh citizens now favour an independent Wales, thanks partly to Plaid Cymru’s decision to position itself as a Remain party. Jac Larner (Cardiff University) looks at how Welsh Labour has begun to question the country’s future as part of the UK, and discusses geographer Danny Dorling’s argument that English retirees living in Wales tipped the 2016 […]

The Supreme Court judges are oiling the democratic machine, not telling it what to produce

The Miller2/Cherry case is not about judges seizing the policy agenda, whatever the critics of the outcome might say, writes Conor Gearty (LSE). In this decision the judges are oiling the democratic machine, not telling it what to produce. This Supreme Court decision is a telling illustration of why all populist authoritarians need to dismantle the independent judiciary. In March 1954, that […]

The Supreme Court ruling: why the effects test could help save democracy (somewhat)

It is hard to overestimate the political as well as the legal implications of today’s ground-breaking Supreme Court ruling, writes Tarun Khaitan (University of Sydney). It applied an effects-based test to the case rather than trying to establish the purpose of Boris Johnson’s move to prorogue Parliament. In doing so it created a brand new and sophisticated ammunition in the rapidly […]

How little we know: reflections on our ignorance of the EU

Both Leavers and Remainers are almost equally ignorant about the workings of the EU. Dorothy Bishop (University of Oxford) looks at research into how cognitive biases influence people’s opinions of the Union, and questions whether, given how little voters knew, the referendum was valid. As a Remainer, I am baffled as to what Brexiteers want. If you ask them, as […]

A no-deal Brexit would be very tough for farmers – but will the public sympathise?

Upland farmers face losing more than a third of their income in the event of a no-deal Brexit, says Richard Byrne (Harper Adams University). In the past, some farmers have taken direct action when government and supermarket policies have threatened their income – but given the (albeit limited) financial support they can expect to receive, they may find it harder […]

From ‘purpose’ to ‘effect’: a principled way to decide whether prorogation is legal

Anne Twomey argued on LSE Brexit that the Supreme Court should focus on the fact that Boris Johnson has lost the confidence of the Commons. Given that he has not yet lost a vote of no confidence, Tarunabh Khaitan (University of Oxford) says this is a problematic approach. Instead, the Court should ask whether prorogation is likely to have the […]

Rational high ground or compromise? Liberal strategies for coping with Brexit

How do liberal Remainers negotiate their dismay and shock at the Leave vote? Daphne Fietz (LSE) talked to nine people who voted Remain and analysed the comment section of the Guardian. She discusses how they deployed different liberal values in an effort to either distance themselves from the ‘irrationality’ of Leavers, or seek compromise. While Brexit may be imminent, no […]

When is prorogation ‘improper’?

What would make Boris Johnson’s prorogation of Parliament ‘improper’? Anne Twomey (University of Sydney) argues that the Supreme Court should focus on the fact that the PM has lost the confidence of the Commons – which is a breach of constitutional principle – rather than on the political advantages he might secure by shutting down Parliament. Prorogation is primarily a procedural […]

The Supreme Court should repair the tear in the fabric of the constitution that prorogation has opened up

The Supreme Court is considering whether Boris Johnson’s prorogation of Parliament is lawful. Thomas Poole (LSE) says the claimants face two hurdles: one concerns the involvement of the Queen, the other whether prorogation is a purely political or a justiciable issue. He argues that the court should recognise that the power to prorogue has legal limits. On 28 August, the […]

Challenging prorogation: understanding the Court of Session decision and anticipating that of the Supreme Court

Sionaidh Douglas-Scott (Queen Mary University of London) explains the recent Court of Session decision on prorogation. The Supreme Court may ultimately declare the issue to be non-justiciable – but it could then be possible for Boris Johnson to prorogue Parliament for a much longer period. Legal cases are not always exciting. Yet some truly absorbing and significant litigation is underway, arising […]

What policy do British voters want on EU immigration? Is there a hidden consensus?

Very few British people know about restrictions on freedom of movement allowed under existing EU regulations. Yet when they learn about the EU’s “three-month rule”, two-thirds (64%) say it would provide “enough control” over EU immigration. And 67% say that they would support the introduction of ID cards if it meant the authorities could enforce restrictions applied in other EU […]

The Lib Dems are right – revoking Article 50 is a winning proposition

The Lib Dems are right to have promised to revoke Article 50, writes Phil Syrpis (University of Bristol). Revocation would ‘make it stop’ – an appealing proposition for those weary of Brexit and who want to focus on domestic politics. Labour should follow suit. It now looks as though the UK will be heading towards a pre-Brexit general election. Notwithstanding […]

Why we need a Democracy Protection Act before the general election

With a general election imminent, Ewan McGaughey (King’s College London) argues that a new law is urgently needed to stop the poll being swung by stolen data, foreign donations and Russian interference. If a no-deal Brexit is averted, Britain nonetheless faces the prospect of a general election going ahead without electoral law reform. As Boris Johnson goaded the Leader of […]

Young people and Brexit: the implications for the far-right and Scottish independence

Since the EU referendum, the narrative of an inter-generational divide has emerged, with the country’s older pro-Leave generation thought to be at odds with a younger, pro-Remain generation. Rakib Ehsan (Henry Jackson Society) investigated these intra-generational differences and suggests that failure to deliver Brexit may provide a boost for far-right organisations, but that a disruptive no-deal Brexit has the potential […]

Categories, stereotypes, and political identities: the use of Brexiter and Remainer in online comments

Joanne Meredith (University of Wolverhampton) and Emma Richardson (University of Leicester) examine how the terms Brexiter and Remainer were used by online commenters during and after the referendum. They find that the two are seen as political categories in their own right, and the commenters resisted other, well-defined political identities, such as Conservative or Labour supporters. Commentary around Brexit highlighted political and social […]

Labour cannot be a party of Remain if it is serious about radical change

Brexit has energised the centrist political forces that want to remain in the EU, but they have little to show for their efforts. Michael Wilkinson (LSE) argues that Labour should avoid flirting with Remainism if it wants to be the party of radical change and defeat Boris Johnson. The divisions underlying Brexit are deep and complex, and cut across various […]

Proponents of the new Bill to stop No Deal face a significant dilemma over Queen’s Consent

MPs opposed to a no-deal Brexit intend to bring a Bill this week in order to do so. Robert Craig (LSE) explains why the existence of Queen’s Consent means that they face a complex legal Catch-22 in their efforts to stop the Prime Minister. This post will be updated when the MPs’ bill is made public. MPs who wish to […]

The next few days will reveal where the heart of power lies in the British constitution

The government argues that the courts have no part to play in the row over prorogation, and that it is a matter for Parliament and the executive alone. But what happens when the executive has suspended Parliament? Joelle Grogan (Middlesex University) says a constitutional crisis now looks imminent. On 18 July, I wrote on LSE Brexit that prorogation was a […]

Quick take: is the EU Settlement Scheme going to plan?

EU citizens in the UK have to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme in order to stay in the UK. Barbara Drozdowicz (Eastern European Resource Centre) says around three-quarters of them have yet to apply – and Poles, and people living outside England, have particularly low rates. The most recent release of statistics about applications for EU settled status bring […]

Threat of prorogation: what can the Commons do?

The Prime Minister has requested and received consent for the current parliament to be prorogued, and plans to introduce a new Queen’s Speech before the Brexit deadline of 31 October. David Howarth (University of Cambridge) assesses the options available for those wishing to oppose this and enable the Commons to prevent a no-deal Brexit. Boris Johnson’s plan to advise the Queen to […]

What happens after a Vote of No Confidence in the PM? A route map

A successful Vote of No Confidence in the government is a seismic political event. It is also extremely rare. As a result, the rules governing the subsequent constitutional steps are perhaps less well understood than they should be. Robert Craig (LSE) attempts to set out a route map for what must happen after a successful VoNC in the light of […]

Why no-deal Brexit is a battle for the soul of our nation

Britain is lurching towards an economic, political and moral disaster, writes John Van Reenen (MIT). We are careening towards the most extreme form of Brexit imaginable – flouncing out of the European Union (EU) after 46 years without any transition plan. Operation Yellowhammer, a leaked secret report from the government’s own officials predicted that the most likely outcome of this no-deal Brexit […]

The risks of simple majority referendums: learning from Quebec

Britain voted to leave the EU in a simple majority referendum. Gordon Bannerman (University of Guelph-Humber) argues that it would have done better to follow Canada’s example. After Quebec narrowly voted to avoid separation in 1995, the country revisited its approach to referendums. Indeed, not all UK referendums have involved a simple majority. Canada has often featured on the LSE […]