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Brexit and the United Kingdom’s Devolutionary Constitution

Masterman, Roger

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This piece considers the implications of the Brexit process for the United Kingdom’s territorial constitution. It advances two narratives of the devolutionary settlement; one which emphasises the continuing post-devolution influence – and dominance – of the institutions of UK-level government, the other which regards devolution as having engineered a quasi-federal division of powers and having diluted the sovereignty of the Westminster Parliament via expressions of national sovereignty in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The continuing resonance of the former is addressed across three elements of the Brexit process: (i) the design and outcome of the 2016 referendum; (ii) litigation concerning Brexit and devolution; and (iii) the legislative process of repatriating competences to domestic institutions from the EU. Seen through these lenses, Brexit is argued to provide ongoing evidence of the democratic deficits that the post-1998 phase of devolution was designed to address, and of an increasingly unstable territorial constitution.


Masterman, R. (2022). Brexit and the United Kingdom’s Devolutionary Constitution. Global Policy, 13(52), 58-68.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 17, 2022
Publication Date 2022-04
Deposit Date Oct 14, 2021
Publicly Available Date Jun 28, 2022
Journal Global Policy
Print ISSN 1758-5880
Electronic ISSN 1758-5899
Publisher Durham University
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Issue 52
Pages 58-68


Published Journal Article (159 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
© 2022 The Authors. Global Policy published by Durham University and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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