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The Law & Politics of Brexit$
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Federico Fabbrini

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198811763

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198811763.001.0001

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Brexit and the English Question

Brexit and the English Question

(p.95) (p.93) 5 Brexit and the English Question
The Law & Politics of Brexit

Stephen Tierney

Oxford University Press

The chapter examines Brexit and the English question, arguing that Brexit should be understood as a result of the ongoing demotic process in England. As Tierney explains, the UK is an asymmetric system. England alone constitutes population-wise almost four-fifths of the UK. This has influenced devolution: while since the 1990s power has transferred outwards towards the devolved nations, England herself has never received equivalent constitutional autonomy, or recognition, within the UK. Proposals for regional devolution within England, transferring powers to nationwide cities, have also failed. the recent introduction within the House of Common of the principle ‘English Votes for English Laws’—allowing only MPs elected in English constituencies to vote on laws concerning England alone, thus overcoming the well-known West Lothian question—is also an inadequate response to ever-increasing nationalistic views. To address this situation post-Brexit, Tierney concludes that constitutional reform is necessary, entrenching a coherent system of intergovernmental relations.

Keywords:   Brexit, England, sovereignty, nationalism, devolution, inter-state relations, Westminster

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