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Brexit as a Critical Juncture in the Politics of UK Devolution: A Comparative Analysis of the Effects of Brexit on Parties’ Territorial Strategies

Jonathan Bradbury Orcid Logo, Alan Convery, Matthew Wall

Regional & Federal Studies

Swansea University Author: Jonathan Bradbury Orcid Logo

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DOI (Published version): 10.1080/13597566.2023.2185610

Abstract

In this paper, we theorize the 2016 Brexit referendum as a critical juncture in UKpolitics and analyse its effects on devolution using the concept of regional authority. We argue that Brexit raised the option of re-balancing the self-rule and shared rule dimensions of regional authority present in U...

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Published in: Regional & Federal Studies
Published: Taylor and Francis 2023
Online Access: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13597566.2023.2185610
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa62757
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Abstract: In this paper, we theorize the 2016 Brexit referendum as a critical juncture in UKpolitics and analyse its effects on devolution using the concept of regional authority. We argue that Brexit raised the option of re-balancing the self-rule and shared rule dimensions of regional authority present in UK devolution.We generate hypotheses regarding parties’territorial strategies and test them against a content analysis of 2015 and 2017 UK general election manifestos.We demonstrate that proposals dealing with shared rule grew between 2015 and 2017, within the context of consistency in parties’overall territorial positioning. The governing Conservatives also offered more proposals on shared rule but not ones that increased devolved influence. Overall, they moved from favouring an increase in regional authority in 2015 to the cusp of maintaining existing regional authority and somewhat reducing it in 2017.This helps to explain why post-Brexit UK government policy in practice maintained a primary focus on self-rule within a general approach of limiting the further growth of regional authority.
Keywords: Devolution; regional authority; parties; Brexit
College: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences