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Bridging the English Channel

Cross-channel Views of the UK and Europe

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Scotland’s referendum countdown

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While Westminster politicians await the day next year when Theresa May will trigger Article 50, beginning a two year negotiation over the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, the count down is different in Scotland. The big question is when Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, will announce a date for holding a second referendum on […]

Lighting the fuse to Brexit

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British politicians do not expect to have their actions dictated by clauses in a written constitution but European Union policymakers do. Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union is an awkward constitutional constraint on Theresa May, the new Prime Minister. It not only recognises the right of an EU member state to withdraw […]

Flying EU friendships can be fleeting

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In less than a month after entering Downing Street Theresa May has made flying trips to see heads of five European governments that will have a vote on the European Union’s relationship with the United Kingdom once it leaves the Union.  More trips will be in the offing, as 27 EU member states will be […]

HOW BINDING CAN AN EU REFERENDUM BE?

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The House of Commons is debating the Referendum Bill on Monday, which can bind the British government but cannot bind the European Union. Two arch-critics of the EU, Philip Davies MP and David Nuttall MP, have proposed that if the referendum is in favour of leaving the EU, the government should give formal notice of […]

REFERENDUM OR PLEBISCITE: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

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The words referendum and plebiscite refer to electoral institutions in which the mass of the population votes on an issue. However, they have very different political connotations. Plebiscite is a negative term referring to an unfair and unfree vote in an undemocratic political system. It was a favourite device of French Emperors Napoleon Bonaparte and […]

DISASTER SCENARIO FOR CAMERON ON EUROPE

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David Cameron faces the risk of winning the EU referendum and losing his job as prime minister if he fails to convince a majority of Tories to back his recommendation to stay in the European Union. While the prime minister favours Britain remaining in the EU on terms he negotiates with Brussels, most Tory voters […]

CORBYN AND CAMERON HALF AGREE ABOUT EUROPE

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Jeremy Corbyn and David Cameron definitely agree about one thing regarding the European Union: they both would like it reformed. However, they disagree about the direction of reform. Corbyn wants the EU to gain more powers to protect workers, while Cameron wants Brussels to have less power to tell British businesses what to do. The […]

NEGLECTED ISSUES IN THE EU REFERENDUM BILL

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*Will there be a turnout threshold making the referendum decisive?  At the 2014 European Parliament election turnout was 35.6 percent and at the 2015 British general election 66.2 percent. Turnout at EU referendums across Europe normally falls between an EP and a national election. This implies a likely UK turnout of around 51 percent. If […]

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