The British constitution resettled? Parliamentary sovereignty after the EU Referendum

McConalogue, Jim (2019). The British constitution resettled? Parliamentary sovereignty after the EU Referendum. The British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 21(2) pp. 439–458.



The evidence from parliamentary and legal processes flowing from the European Union referendum in June 2016 and the vote to leave - including invoking Article 50 and subsequent Withdrawal Bill votes, nuancing of party positions in Parliament, adopting parliamentary scrutiny through ongoing party competition and subsequent legislation - suggests a strong resettling of Parliament’s sovereignty based on a potentially new, enhanced constitutional settlement. Two significant precedented, historical constitutional forms, strongly dependent upon Burke’s and Dicey’s view of government by consent, prove central to the further resettling of parliamentary sovereignty following the European Union referendum. This approach contrasts with theories asserting that sovereignty is being challenged by unwieldy executive authority, popular sovereignty, or democratic nostalgia. When the United Kingdom’s present day, post-1973 constitutional form is in conflict with a new feature, as in the case of the European Union referendum, a contemporary resettling of parliamentary sovereignty occurs.

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