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University of Leicester researchers to explore Parliament and the Brexit process

21 April 2017 Leicester, University of

Three academics at the University of Leicester have secured funding for their research project, ‘Parties, Parliament and the Brexit Process’, which will explore how Parliament has responded to Brexit and how effective is its legislative response.

Professor Adam Cygan from Leicester Law School, who is leading the project, Dr Richard Whitaker and Dr Philip Lynch from the School of History, Politics and International Relations have secured a grant from the Economic and Social Research Council for a project funded as part of the ESRC’s The UK in a Changing Europe Initiative

The project is one of 25 launched by the ESRC as part of its ‘UK in a Changing Europe’ initiative. 

The project combines an institutional analysis - looking at procedures, practices, rules and structures within Parliament - with an examination of the strategic behaviour of individual MPs, parties and the executive. Internal party divisions, emerging cross-party alliances and the differing preferences of MPs on issues arising from Brexit will affect how, and how well, Parliament scrutinises the process of leaving the EU. The effectiveness of this scrutiny, plus the nature of party cooperation and contestation during the initial period of the Brexit process will then also impact upon the transfer of EU competences back to Westminster and to what extent Parliament will remain ‘Europeanised’ and seek to retain existing regulatory norms and standards post-Brexit.

In carrying out this research the project team will work in partnership with the Industry and Parliament Trust, to engage with parliamentarians, policy makers, business and civil society to identify the political and legislative priorities and challenges that emerge during the Brexit process.

Professor Cygan, Chair in EU Law at the University’s Law School, said: “Delivering the legislative and political changes that arise from Brexit will necessitate that Parliament and MPs work intensely to meet the Brexit deadline, as well as satisfy public expectations over the final Brexit agreement. The project will explore how Parliament has responded to Brexit in terms of its structures and procedures, and how effective is its legislative response with the return of competences to the UK.  The upcoming General Election will enable a broader public debate on Brexit, and Parliament will be expected to deliver a Brexit agreement that reflects public opinion.  Our project will be well placed to follow how Parliament and MPs react to the mandate that they have been given.”

Anand Menon, Professor of European Politics and Foreign Affairs at King’s College London is Director of the UK in a Changing Europe Initiative. Professor Menon stated that the newly funded research projects “will reinforce the ability of the UK in a Changing Europe to respond to the high demand for accurate, research-based information from politicians, civil servants, journalists, businesses, civil society and the public at this crucial moment for the UK.”

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