For Scotland, the campaign continues, and the dream shall never die. These, the assuaging words of then-First Minister Alex Salmond announcing his intention to resign the morning after losing the Scottish independence referendum in September 2014. … [Read more...] about A tale of two paradoxes: Sturgeon’s legacy to the constitution
The background In February 2021 judicial review proceedings challenging the lawfulness of the Northern Ireland Protocol were brought against the Prime Minister, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and the Chancellor of the Duchy by Mr … [Read more...] about On orthodoxy and unanswered questions: the Allister ruling and why it matters
At a time when people are struggling to pay their bills, feed their families and are striking over pay settlements, you’ve produced a 155-page report talking about devolution, constitutional reform and abolishing the House of Lords. This might look … [Read more...] about A new Britain in review
On 23rd November, the UK Supreme Court delivered a unanimous judgment on a Reference by the Lord Advocate concerning whether the Scottish Government could introduce a draft bill legislating for a referendum on Scotland’s independence. Can’t touch … [Read more...] about Reference by the Lord Advocate of devolution issues under para 34, sch.6 of the Scotland Act 1998
On June 28th, Nicola Sturgeon set out her “route map” for securing Scotland’s independence, setting a date for a second independence referendum to be held on 19 October 2023. Her “Plan A” remains a consensual referendum, following the precedent … [Read more...] about Securing Scotland’s independence: moving beyond process?
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