Is Brexit a British Constitutional Crisis?
Brexit, the UK’s campaign to leave the European Union, has sparked ongoing political and constitutional controversy. However, the UK doesn’t have a written constitution — it is governed by a set of laws, norms, conventions, judicial decisions, and treaties — and Brexit has led some to think that needs to change. This episode dives into that debate over the UK’s unwritten constitution as well as other key Brexit-related issues including Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s attempts to “prorogue” Parliament and the ensuing UK Supreme Court decision, parliamentary sovereignty, and the role of referenda. Two leading experts on those topics –Meg Russell, Director of the Constitution Unit at University College London, and Kim Lane Scheppele, Professor of International Affairs at Princeton University phone in from London for a conversation with host Jeffrey Rosen.
A term that is helpful to know for this week:
- Prorogation - brings the current session of Parliament to an end. While Parliament is prorogued, neither House can meet, debate or pass legislation, or debate government policy. In general, bills which have not yet been passed are lost and will have to start again from scratch in the next session. The Crown decides when Parliament can be prorogued, but, typically, the Prime Minister advises the Crown to prorogue and that request is accepted.
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