Brexit and the UK Parliament: Challenges and Opportunities

Date & time

5–6.30pm Thursday 28 March 2019

Venue

The Nye Hughes Room, ANU Centre for European Studies, The Australian National University, 1 Liversidge Street Acton ACT 2601

Speakers

Associate Professor Richard Whitaker, Associate Professor in European Politics, the University of Leicester, United Kingdom.
Respondents: Anne McNaughton (ANU College of Law) and Dr Richard Reid (School of Politics and International Relations, ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences)

Accommodation

For interstate visitors, we offer suggestions for accommodation near ANU.

Contact

ANU Centre for European Studies
+61 2 6125 9896

Presented by ANU Centre for European Studies

Public lecture
British Houses of Parliament

Brexit has been dominating the UK Parliament’s activities as negotiations on the terms of the UK’s departure from the European Union (EU) have been taking place. Parliament is a primary venue for MPs to attempt to alter the Brexit process. It offers a wide range of opportunities for MPs to voice dissent, signal their preferences and influence the agenda, especially in light of the government’s minority status. How far has the UK parliament achieved influence in the Brexit process independently of government?

This lecture – which is based on research conducted with Dr Philip Lynch and Professor Adam Cygan at the University of Leicester – will address that question by drawing on a range of data on MPs’ positions, parliamentary activities, a dataset of divisions in select committees, the content of select committee reports and interviews with Parliamentary staff.

The research has found that while the executive–legislative relationship has not fundamentally changed, divisions within the two largest political parties and the government’s minority status after the 2017 general election have meant the executive has had to make concessions to its own backbench MPs on both sides of the referendum debate, in order to ensure the passage of legislation and has suffered comparatively frequent defeats in Parliament.

Select committees have been influential at times through common themes emerging in some of their reports and their ability to highlight issues not previously on the agenda. Nevertheless, they have also been undermined to some degree by divisions between committees on the leave–remain and core–periphery dimensions and within the Brexit committee.

Richard Whitaker’s research focuses on the study of legislatures, particularly the European Parliament and the UK Parliament, as well as British political parties and European integration. He is currently conducting a project funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council on Parties, Parliament and the Brexit Process (https://parlbrexit.co.uk) with Professor Adam Cygan and Dr Philip Lynch.


 

Speakers

  • Associate Professor Richard Whitaker, Associate Professor in European Politics, the University of Leicester, United Kingdom. »

    Richard Whitaker’s research focuses on the study of legislatures, particularly the European Parliament and the UK Parliament, as well as British political parties and European integration. He is currently conducting a project funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council on Parties, Parliament and the Brexit Process (https://parlbrexit.co.uk) with Professor Adam Cygan and Dr Philip Lynch.
     

  • Respondent: Anne McNaughton »

    Anne McNaughton’s research focuses on the European Union as a unique legal order in international law. She has been studying this phenomenon since completing her Master of Laws in Tübingen, Germany, in 1991. Her thesis was on the incorporation of the territory of the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) into the European Communities following the reunification of Germany in 1990.

    Anne is a Fellow of the European Law Institute (ELI) and one of the coordinators of the Special Interest Group on Contract Tort and Property Law. She is a corresponding member of the Principles of European Insurance Contract Law (PEICL) and Principles of Reinsurance Contract Law (PRICL).

    Anne’s research is directed to developing a more sophisticated and evidence-based understanding of the European Union in the broader Australian community and the wider Asia-Pacific region beyond the Common Agricultural Policy. 

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