Meg Russell been based at the Constitution Unit, University College London, since August 1998. She began as a Senior Research Fellow, and became Deputy Director in 2008. She is largely responsible for the Unit's research work on parliament. She is particularly known for her work on comparative bicameralism and the British House of Lords, but has also researched various aspects of the House of Commons and Commons reform. In the past she has also written on political party organisation, candidate selection and women's representation in politics.
Beyond academia, Meg has served as a consultant to the Royal Commission on Reform of the House of Lords and, from 2001-2003, was seconded as a full time adviser to Robin Cook in his role as Leader of the House of Commons. She was an adviser to the Arbuthnott Commission on boundaries and voting systems in Scotland, the House of Lords Appointments Commission and the Select Committee on Reform of the House of Commons (the "Wright Committee"). She has frequently given evidence to parliamentary committees, both in Britain and overseas.
This post has an eye-catching title, but it isn’t a joke – my question is deadly serious. David Cameron’s recent appointment of 45 new peers to the House of Lords has attracted predictable wails of outrage – from the media, from opposition parties, and indeed from myself. His Lords appointments in t... Read more
The future of agriculture policy across the United Kingdom after Brexit is uncertain and risky, according to a new paper by Professor Michael Keating of the Centre on Constitutional Change. Reforms of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy over recent years have shifted the emphasis from farming to the broader concept of rural policy. As member states have gained more discretion in applying policy, the nations of the UK have also diverged, according to local conditions and preferences.
In our latest report for the "Repatriation of Competences: Implications for Devolution" project, Professor Nicola McEwen and Dr Alexandra Remond examine how, in the longer term, Brexit poses significant risks for the climate and energy ambitions of the devolved nations. These include the loss of European Structural and Investment Funds targeted at climate and low carbon energy policies, from which the devolved territories have benefited disproportionately. European Investment Bank loan funding, which has financed high risk renewables projects, especially in Scotland, may also no longer be as accessible, while future access to research and innovation funding remains uncertain. The removal of the EU policy framework, which has incentivised the low carbon ambitions of the devolved nations may also result in lost opportunities.
The outcome of the various Commons votes this week left certain only that the Government would either secure an amended deal and put it to a meaningful vote on Wednesday 13 February, or in the overwhelmingly likely absence of this make a further statement that day and table another amendable motion for the following day, the Groundhog Day that may lead to a ‘St Valentine’s Day Massacre’ for one side or the other. Richard Parry assesses the further two-week pause in parliamentary action on Brexit
Concerns about the implications of the Irish backstop for the integrity of the domestic Union contributed significantly to the scale of the 118-strong backbench rebellion that led to Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement being defeated last week, by the extraordinary margin of 432 to 202. What do the arguments made during the Commons debate tell us about the nature of the ‘unionism’ that prevails in the contemporary Conservative Party?