On Friday 13 May, The Constitution Society held a conference at the French Senate in Paris looking at a range of topical constitutional issues – from the Northern Ireland Protocol to retained EU law. Recordings from the various panels and talks given … [Read more...] about Conference: France-United Kingdom – Two Constitutions After Brexit
The ongoing Independent Commission on the Constitutional Future of Wales should recognise the political and constitutional realities across all four nations of the UK when exploring the nature of the Union going forward. The fact that the four … [Read more...] about A new constitutional partnership for these isles
Respect and Co-operation: Building a Stronger Union for the 21st century is the title of a recent report from the House of Lords Constitution Committee, which I chaired while it considered this important topic. The words in the report’s title are … [Read more...] about Respect and co-operation: building a stronger Union for the twenty-first century
Introduction and history In spite of high-profile meetings with world leaders, Nicola Sturgeon has largely been excluded from the formal decision-making processes at COP26. This contradiction is reflected elsewhere: the Scottish government … [Read more...] about The politics of Scotland’s autonomous foreign policy
Introduction Much like Brexit itself, the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement’s Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland remains an on-going point of contention. It has left an indelible mark on politics both within Northern Ireland and in Westminster, and … [Read more...] about The politics of the Northern Ireland Protocol
It has often been assumed that sub-state nationalisms, whether in Scotland, Wales, Quebec, Catalonia or the Basque Country, must be motivated by distinct values or attitudes about the great issues of public policy. Indeed, there is a whole school of … [Read more...] about Will ‘British values’ keep us together?
From nineteenth-century Irish home rule debates onwards there has been one consensus: the Union could not survive if England were allowed its own political identity or institutions of government. Winston Churchill said in 1912 that it would ‘tear the … [Read more...] about England and the Union: time to think again
Since Scotland’s votes were counted a month ago, there has been much debate about whether the results constituted a ‘mandate’ for an independence referendum. Some debated the significance, or lack of it, of the absence of a single party majority for … [Read more...] about The UK government and a second Scottish independence referendum: an unsustainable paradox?
In the run up to the Scottish Parliamentary election on 6 May, the possibility of another Scottish independence referendum has been at the centre of the political and constitutional debate. The SNP published an 11-point plan that states that, if it … [Read more...] about Are we heading towards an illegal wildcat Scottish independence referendum?
What is Scotland’s electoral system? Elections to Scotland’s devolved Parliament are held under the Additional Member System (AMS). Under AMS, 73 Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) are elected in single-member constituencies, and 56 are … [Read more...] about A gameable electoral system? The Additional Member System in Scotland
The future of the UK Union is of increasing salience for British policy-makers. Against the backdrop of the twin crises of Brexit and coronavirus, speculation about its break-up has become widespread. With support for Scottish independence … [Read more...] about Union at the Crossroads: Why the British state must overhaul its approach to devolution
Philip Rycroft is former Permanent Secretary (2017-2019) at DExEU. From June 2015 to March 2019 he was head of the UK Governance Group in the Cabinet Office, with responsibility for advising ministers on all aspects of the constitution and … [Read more...] about The Dunlop Review: implications for the Union?