The EU referendum and some paradoxes of democratic legitimacy

In parliamentary democracies referendums generate alternative, competing sources of legitimacy. This has been clearly demonstrated by the EU referendum result, with the public voting to Leave despite a clear parliamentary majority for continued membership. Nat le Roux, Strategy Director of The Constitution Society, discusses this paradox and suggests that it would not be unreasonable for some MPs to choose to vote against the invocation of … Continue reading The EU referendum and some paradoxes of democratic legitimacy

What role will parliament have in triggering Article 50 and shaping the terms of Brexit?

Constitutional lawyers have been engaged in a major debate over whether parliamentary authorisation is needed for Article 50 to be triggered and the process of negotiating Brexit to formally begin. In this post, the UCL Constitution Unit’s Robert Hazell and Jack Sheldon move the discussion on, asking how parliament might debate the triggering of Article 50 and, once it has been triggered, what role parliament … Continue reading What role will parliament have in triggering Article 50 and shaping the terms of Brexit?

In the event of a Leave vote Brexit would dominate Westminster for years

Lord Lisvane, former Clerk of the House of Commons, discusses the impact that a vote to leave the EU would have on Westminster in the immediate aftermath of the referendum, during Brexit negotiations and once Brexit has actually taken place. The UCL European Institute, together with the UCL Constitution Unit, is holding a special series of seminars on the implications and consequences of Brexit. The first, … Continue reading In the event of a Leave vote Brexit would dominate Westminster for years

Improving the EU Referendum Bill: A Contribution from the House of Lords

David Hannay, member of the House of Lords and former Ambassador to the EU, reviews the progress of the EU Referendum Bill so far and comments on the amendments made by the House of Lords.

On 1 December the House of Lords gave the Government’s EU Referendum Bill its third reading and returned it in amended form to the House of Commons. There is no reason therefore why the Bill should not be on the statute book by the end of the year, thus clearing the way for an in/out referendum to be held at a time of the Government’s choosing before the end of 2017, more likely some time in 2016. Continue reading “Improving the EU Referendum Bill: A Contribution from the House of Lords”

MPs are from Mars, peers are from Venus: Westminster and the EU

In this post, Dr Julie Smith, Director of the European Centre at Polis at the University of Cambridge and member of the House of Lords, examines how attitudes towards parliamentary scrutiny of EU affairs differs between the House of Commons and the House of Lords. How do other member state parliamentarians balance the local needs of their electorates with those of EU-level governance and are there any lessons … Continue reading MPs are from Mars, peers are from Venus: Westminster and the EU