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Press Release: May’s ‘Precious Union’ has Little Support in Brexit Britain

Theresa May’s ‘precious Union’ has little in the way of meaningful support from her own supporters or self-professed Unionists in other parties. Moreover, according to new research from the Universities of Edinburgh and Cardiff, attitudes to the Union are marked principally by rivalry and mutual-indifference.

With little more than six months to go before the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019, the position of Scotland vis-à-vis the EU is not much clearer than it was in the immediate aftermath of the EU referendum more than two years ago. The Scottish Government has put the question of a second independence referendum on the back-burner and discussions around a differentiated Brexit deal for Scotland have died down.
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Because of leaks coming out of the UK Government, we have known for some time what the broad lines of their negotiating offer to the EU would be. Yet the White Paper is still striking for the depth, breadth and detail about the UK’s future dependence on the European Union. It covers almost everything, from customs, to regulations in industrial and agricultural products, competition policy, regulatory institutions, security, broadcasting, justice, social and environmental protection, health insurance, research, energy, refugees, data exchange and overseas development.

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In the classic American musical, Guys and Dolls, the cast sang the praises of Nathan Detroit, the man who ran The Oldest Established Floating Crap Game in the City of New York. The game produced winners and losers with one exception: Nathan Detroit was always a winner. As long as, that is, he could keep the crap game going.

Faced with a choice between splitting her Cabinet into winners and losers, Theresa May has sought to keep the Brexit crap game going. She does this by avoiding betting on either a hard or soft Brexit.

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Different political actors have responded to the decision by the Scottish Parliament to withhold its consent for the UK Government’s showpiece EU (Withdrawal) Bill in very different ways. Prof Nicola McEwen sifts the facts from the hyperbole and explains where we are and where we go from here. 
 
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The devolved legislatures’ ‘continuity’ legislation prepares their statute books for Brexit in the event of an ongoing impasse with the UK Government over the so-called ‘power grab’ in the EU Withdrawal Bill. Professor Nicola McEwen suggests these ongoing discussions and debates provide insight into the challenges and opportunities likely to shape ongoing intergovernmental relationships. 
 
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With little enough fanfare, Cabinet Office Minister David Liddington MP set out how Britain will operate post-Brexit. Prof Michael Kenny and Jack Sheldon consider what he had to say.
 
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Latest blogs

  • 17th January 2019

    Richard Parry assesses a memorable day in UK parliamentary history as the Commons splits 432-202 on 15 January 2019 against the Government's recommended Brexit route. It was the most dramatic night at Westminster since the Labour government’s defeat on a confidence motion in 1979.

  • 17th January 2019

    What is the Irish government’s Brexit wish-list? The suggestion that Irish unity, as opposed to safeguarding political and economic stability, is the foremost concern of the Irish government is to misunderstand and misrepresent the motivations of this key Brexit stakeholder, writes Mary C. Murphy (University College Cork).

  • 17th January 2019

    Brexit is in trouble but not because of the Irish backstop, argues the CCC's Michael Keating.

  • 16th January 2019

    Fellows of the Centre on Constitutional Change respond to the rejection of the Withdrawal Agreement by the House of Commons and the impending no-confidence vote in the government.

  • 11th January 2019

    Richard Parry assesses the unfolding drama at Westminster around no-deal scenarios. The deal ‘would be an uncomfortable outcome for the EU: providing quota-fee, tariff-free access to the EU market without any accompanying financial obligations; without any access to UK fishing waters in the absence of further agreement; and without any commitments to align with the majority of so-called level playing field arrangements’. For Tory leavers, what’s not to like in this negotiating triumph for Theresa May?

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