Devolved Government and Brexit

A guide to devolution

A guide to devolution in the UK

There have long been important distinctions in the way different parts of the UK work - for example, the separate education and legal systems in Scotland. But in 1997, devolution - the transfer of some powers from central to regional bases - entered a new phase.

Devolution: Pros and Cons/1

Why devolution is good for the economy

The case for the devolution of power away from London has centred on the political arguments. Diane Coyle looks at the economic reasons. The context for the devolutionary tide in politics - to the nations and within England to the north and especially Greater Manchester - is that the United Kingdom has long been one of the most centralised developed economies in the world.

Devolution: Pros and Cons/2

The four deficits of the English devolution process

The issue of devolution is squarely on the agenda. Yet despite appearing to have obtained the coveted policy position of a principle without political enemies, the devolution mission itself is not guided by any clear principles, writes Bob Hudson . Instead, actions have been tactical rather than strategic, while current proposals are characterised by democratic, constitutional, financial and strategic 'deficits'.

Devolution: Pros and Cons/3

Devolution, for and against: a tale of many cities

The debate on devolution has become increasingly remote from democratic participation. It needs to be opened up. In his classic quote, Dickens describes a time of great change, and the conditions which were forcing that change: industrial and technological revolution; growth in knowledge and education; oppressed conditions of the working class and lack of hope within a time of great progress.

Our Common Future After Brexit

Our common future after Brexit - Generation Brexit

The LSE has found that a majority of young people in the UK want to keep the right to freedom of movement and maintain trade links with Europe after Brexit. Studying in Europe and taking advantage of European education programmes are also priorities.

England and Brexit

In the post-Brexit world, England deserves its own Parliament

When Scotland has a Parliament - and Wales and Northern Ireland their own assemblies - the lack of an English Parliament represents a serious democratic deficit, writes Colin Copus (De Montfort University). Instead, regionalists have preferred to divide England into EU-delineated regions.

Scotland and Brexit

Scotland and Brexit: the last thing Nicola Sturgeon wants is indyref2

The Scottish government has published a detailed policy paper setting out options for how Scotland could remain in the single market following Brexit. Jim Gallagher argues that the paper, which focuses on options that would involve Scotland remaining part of the UK, suggests that Nicola Sturgeon would rather avoid a second independence referendum.

Wales and Brexit

After the Brexit vote Plaid Cymru is finally becoming a radical alternative to Labour in Wales

There is a future to be had for the Welsh independence movement. Wales' vote in favour of Brexit was not a one in favour of centralising more power in Westminster. At the same time Labour, that has dominated the country political scene, finds its formula of civic Welsh nationalism increasingly untenable.

LSE European Institute


Generation Brexit


Learning Outcomes

 In this study guide, you will learn more about devolved government and Brexit. You will discuss:
  • Devolution in the UK
  • The pros and cons of devolution
  • Devolved government and Brexit

The activities are intended to help you  deepen your understanding of these issues. They will also support the development of those critical thinking skills that you will be expected to demonstrate in your A / AS Level Exams, and at university. 

If you are a STUDENT you will find these  activities useful as part of your self guided study or exam preparation. 

If you are a TEACHER you may wish to incorporate these activities into your lesson plans either  as individual OR small group activities. 



Devolved Government and Brexit Slideshow

Activity One

 Read the following articles:
 Now consider:
  1. What are the pros and cons of devolution according to the Riley?
  2. What should devolution ensure in her account?
  3. Can you think about why some areas are not devolved while others are? Are there any powers that are not currently devolved that you think could be devolved?

Activity Two

Read the following articles:
 Now consider:
  1. Should Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales get a say on the final Brexit deal?
  2.  Will Brexit have a positive or a negative influence on the United Kingdom’s unity?

Activity Three

Following Brexit, the United Kingdom will have to negotiate a deal with the European Union. This deal will have to be acceptable to all the constituent nations. Go to the Generation Brexit PageOur common future after Brexit and read what our users are saying about the future of UK-Eu relations.
  • Are there any ideas that you think are more likely to be acceptable for the UK as a whole?
  • Do you have a suggestion for a future deal that could get all the constituent nations on board?

Activity Four: Debate

Based on the activities you have done so far and the readings in this study guide, you should try to  identify reasons FOR and AGAINST the following proposition: 

  • Brexit could lead to the break up of the United Kingdom

You should aim to identify a series of POINT / EXAMPLE / EXPLANATION style arguments. After you have completed these notes, take some time to consider your own point of view. Which arguments do you find most convincing, and on what basis? Be prepared to fully explain your position citing relevant evidence.


If you are using this study guide as part of your independent learning or revision, you may want to conclude this activity by  writing a practice exam style essay on this question.

If you are a teacher using this study guide as part of a lesson plan, then you may wish to use this question  as the basis for a class debate. 

Do you have an idea to share?

Generation Brexit has one purpose: it gives young people across the UK and the EU a voice in the Brexit negotiations. By taking part in this policy making project you can shape the future of UK-EU relations post-Brexit. The best ideas will be turned into policy proposals sent to the UK and EU parliaments. 

Generation Brexit is also offering an exciting opportunity for Sixth Form students to intern with an LSE crowdsourcing project as a PLATFORM FACILITATOR responsible for encouraging constructive engagement with Brexit related issues amongst platform users.

 Each PLATFORM FACILITATOR will be expected to spend half an hour on the platform each week for a period of four weeks, and earn 100 participation points on the platform. These participation points can be earned by voting or commenting on other people’s ideas, responding to surveys or posting your own ideas. PLATFORM FACILITATORS who fulfil these requirements will receive a certificate  from the LSE to highlight their contribution to the project.

 This is a great opportunity to participate in the Brexit debate and gain valuable experience that you can include in your UCAS personal statement. For more information contact

Jo Murkens

Devolution and Brexit/1

Westminster must choose between leaving the EU and retaining the UK

What is more in We stminster's interest - to follow through the result of the referendum by leaving the EU, or to secure the survival of the United Kingdom? Jo Murkens continues his discussion on Britain's constitutional arrangement arguing that the power-sharing with Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland since 1997 has changed the UK constitution, allowing space for each nation to see itself as politically autonomous.

Devolution and Brexit/2

Could Britain Break Up?

Among the uncertainties unleashed by the Brexit referendum, which early Friday morning heralded the United Kingdom's coming breakup with the European Union, was what happens to the "union" of the United Kingdom itself.

Devolution and Brexit/3

Power to the regions: why more devolution makes sense | Tony Travers

Transferring powers to cities and regions will give Theresa May's government a welcome opportunity to focus on Brexit

Devolution and Brexit/4

Northern Ireland and Brexit/1

Northern Ireland is appallingly ill-prepared for Brexit. May and Foster must get talking

Some politicians have voiced concern that Brexit could have negative consequences for the relationship between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. David Phinnemore assesses some of the key challenges posed by Brexit for Northern Ireland, and looks at how its political parties have reacted to the result of the EU referendum.

Northern Ireland and Brexit/2

Who really cares about Northern Ireland?

This week marks the 20th anniversary of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement. Katy Hayward (Queens University Belfast) considers the current debate about whether Brexit is a threat to peace and stability in Northern Ireland. She argues that the obsession with avoiding physical infrastructure at the border represents a very limited view of where risks to the peace process might come from.

Northern Ireland and Brexit/3

Brexit's implications for Northern Ireland may be destabilising, but not fatal

Brexit created specific uncertainties in Northern Ireland, a post-conflict region where 55.7% of voters (and 85% of Catholics) voted to remain in the EU and where a land border is shared with Ireland. There are fears that Brexit will undermine the 1998 Good Friday Agreement (GFA) and jeopardise the peace process in Northern Ireland.


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