Short Course: Brexit: Transforming Politics, Policy, and Institutions

Transforming Politics, Policy, and Institutions 

Janet Laible
Full Day, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Marriott Wardman Park, Virginia C Room

When the British electorate voted in June 2016 to leave the European Union, the decision shook the political establishment of the country. Three years later, the consequences of that vote are still reverberating. The Brexit vote has roiled political parties, government authority, public administration, the economy, and almost every quarter of British domestic and foreign policy. This short course sponsored by the British Politics Group will explore the on-going ramifications of the Brexit vote from the perspectives of an international gathering of scholars.

Most significantly, Brexit will transform the British economy and Britain’s relationship with the EU-27, with some predicting an economic disaster for the UK and others optimistic about the reinvigoration of the British economy. What will Britain’s new relationship with the EU resemble, and who will the winners and losers of the new arrangements be, in the UK and in the EU? Will the UK be able to strike new trade deals with other major global actors? Will the “Special Relationship” be undermined, enhanced, or unchanged by Britain’s new status? How will the UK’s relations with its nearest neighbors, including Ireland and France, change?

Brexit has introduced new dynamics into every significant political institution, including the country’s main political parties. With both Labour and the Conservatives divided on the issue, what will the state of the parties be as Brexit takes its final form? Will populists continue to challenge the mainstream British parties, or with Brexit a “done deal”, will a new map of electoral space emerge? Policy-making is also undergoing a massive disruption, particularly in domains where the UK has not made policy independently for nearly five decades. How will British institutions manage the post-Brexit policy load? Will policy be innovative and distinctive once it is freed from the collective decision-making processes of the EU (as promised by many Brexit supporters)? Where and to what extent will the policy preferences of the EU be ‘sticky’?

At a more fundamental level, the Brexit vote has provoked new debates about the constitution of the United Kingdom and re-animated older debates thought to be resolved. From questions about the impact of Brexit on the legal order of the country, to contention about political and economic relations among England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, where Brexit has reawakened questions about the Irish border and the peace process, Brexit has deeply unsettled the political status quo. What will British sovereignty look like in the wake of Brexit? How will regional politics be transformed by the end of UK membership in the EU? Will the British state survive in its current form?

In this short course, panelists from the BPG and from the broader APSA membership will examine these questions and others, in order to assess the course of Brexit and its repercussions on British politics and beyond. In addition to panelists invited by the BPG, we are open to proposals from other scholars whose work relates to the topics under consideration.

Interested participants should contact the short course organizer, Janet Laible (Lehigh University) at no later than 1 May 2019. Further information about the British Politics Group can be found at

(NOTE: Accepted participants are requested to become members of the British Politics Group and must register for the full APSA conference in order to register for the short course. Short course registration involves a small fee that is collected by APSA).

**All Short Courses will take place on Wednesday, August 28, 2019 at the APSA 2019 Annual Meeting in  Washington, DC.**