Our Next Virtual Public Lecture:

Searching for sovereignty in Britain: past, present and future

Professor Sionaidh Douglas-Scott, Anniversary Chair in Law, Queen Mary University of London

Synopsis: I argue that there exists a great deal of confusion, much of it from the UK government, over what is meant by sovereignty. I make the point by reference to examples from Britain’s past: looking at past acts of union with Ireland, Wales and Scotland; Britain’s past Empire; as well as to Brexit, Britain's relationship with the EU, and its future outside of the EU. The core of my argument is that Britain developed its constitutional law all too casually, often leaving it very unclear what the law was, or indeed whether Britain even had a constitution. But at the same time, Britain sometimes has chosen to assert an absolute sovereignty for which there was too little support. So there has been insouciance, or ‘a fit of absence of mind,’ as the Victorian historian Seeley described the development of the British Empire. Or in other words - a disjunct between what was claimed and what could actually be proven or asserted. This is why the 'Take Back Control' of Brexiteers is a very empty slogan.

Thursday 18 March 2021 at 5:00pm.

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