Research projects

Between Two Unions

Brexit has major implications for the constitutional future of the UK and Ireland.

The Scottish and Welsh devolution settlements and the Good Friday Agreement were premised on EU membership. Leaving the EU will hence require institutional change, which must be implemented in a context of strained inter-governmental relationships and in light of the differing referendum results across the UK. The shape of post-Brexit arrangements is not yet known, but possibilities include further devolution, recentralisation of powers to UK institutions and the weakening and potential disintegration of the UK Union.

This project, which brings together leading experts from universities across the UK and Ireland, seeks to examine this process of constitutional reinvention in real time. At Cambridge our research will focus on institutional and inter-governmental challenges associated with Brexit. We will study how different parts of Whitehall are engaging with the devolved governments on both a formal and informal level, how England is represented in this process and the actual and potential impacts upon the UK constitution.

The research is based on interviews with key insiders and documentary analysis. It is intended that the findings will be informative to policy makers and the general public, and also make an important contribution to the academic literature on constitutional change. Outputs will therefore include publications targeted at practitioners, as well as academic works. Interim outputs will be published during the course of the research and added to this page.

  • The project is funded by the ESRC and runs from October 2017 to September 2020 – see more details here.
  • Our work on the project is led by Professor Michael Kenny, with Jack Sheldon as Research Assistant.
  • The Principal Investigator is Professor Michael Keating (Universities of Aberdeen and Edinburgh). The project team also includes Professor David Bell (University of Stirling), Professor Nicola McEwen (University of Edinburgh), Dr Mary Murphy (University College Cork) and Professor Daniel Wincott (University of Cardiff).