British and Irish Politics and Policy

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    Supreme Court judgment: in law, reason still matters, facts are relevant, and nonsense doesn’t work

Supreme Court judgment: in law, reason still matters, facts are relevant, and nonsense doesn’t work

The Supreme Court decision is a telling illustration of why all populist authoritarians need to dismantle the independent judiciary, writes Conor Gearty. He discusses the importance of the case.

Without question, the Supreme Court decision on prorogation is the finest moment in the annals of the UK’s judicial history. Building on the work of their Scottish colleagues, the Court has […]

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    R (Miller) v The Prime Minister and the resumption of the Brexit debates

R (Miller) v The Prime Minister and the resumption of the Brexit debates

John Stanton discusses the Supreme Court’s finding that the recent prorogation of Parliament was both justiciable and unlawful. He writes that the decision is rooted in well-established constitutional principle, and considers the Brexit options available to government and opposition.

In R (Miller) v Prime Minister (2019) on the recent prorogation of Parliament, the Supreme Court was faced with two questions. […]

Sharing public wealth: why we need a Charter of the Commons

Guy Standing argues that we need a progressive charter to recover and revive our commons – including natural resources and social amenities – that are currently being privatised and exploited for commercial incursions.

On November 6, 1217, two documents became the foundations of the British constitution, Magna Carta and the Charter of the Forest, the latter asserting that everybody had […]

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    Labour and Brexit: Corbyn’s ‘neutrality’ on a second referendum is not neutral

Labour and Brexit: Corbyn’s ‘neutrality’ on a second referendum is not neutral

Jeremy Corbyn’s stance on Brexit in the run up to the 2019 party conference is far from neutral and endangers his entire project to transform British politics, explains Eunice Goes.

This year’s annual conference was supposed to be a launchpad from where Labour would show voters that the party is ready to govern the country. Jeremy Corbyn even announced his […]

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    How to decide whether prorogation was exercised for an improper purpose

How to decide whether prorogation was exercised for an improper purpose

What would make Boris Johnson’s prorogation of Parliament ‘improper’? Anne Twomey 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 exercise which ends […]

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    Civic vs. ethnic nationalism in Britain: lessons from the UK Supreme Court

Civic vs. ethnic nationalism in Britain: lessons from the UK Supreme Court

Elliott Green compares some of the remarks made by Aidan O’Neill QC – counsel for the various MPs challenging the Prime Minister’s decision to prorogue Parliament – with those of Boris Johnson, and explains what they highlight about British national identity. 

In Wednesday’s hearing at the UK Supreme Court Aidan O’Neill QC gave a rousing and wide-ranging opening statement that […]

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    Scottish Labour and the constitution: a party squeezed and divided

Scottish Labour and the constitution: a party squeezed and divided

Drawing on interviews with Labour politicians, Coree Brown Swan explains how the party is both squeezed and divided within a constitutional space. She writes that while Labour has largely avoided positioning itself on such issues, the constitution is likely to be a core theme of any future general election.

John McDonnell recently made a major speech in Glasgow setting out Labour’s […]

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    How the Supreme Court could spell out the message that Parliament is not an optional extra

How the Supreme Court could spell out the message that Parliament is not an optional extra

The Supreme Court is considering whether Boris Johnson’s prorogation of Parliament is lawful. Thomas Poole argues that, whatever its final decision, the court should spell out the message that the power to prorogue has legal limits.

In certain respects, the British constitution navigated a path quite effectively from medieval to modern. Walter Bagehot captured the political craft underlying this transition […]