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Britain and Europe Unit
In January 2013, Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron agreed to hold an ‘in/out’ referendum on Britain’s continued membership of the European Union (EU). The referendum campaign, the vote to leave the EU, and the ongoing aftermath, together make an unprecedented period in British and indeed European politics.
The campaign was about more than Britain’s relationship with the EU, and the decision to leave will most likely have far-reaching consequences on Britain’s society, culture, economy, and political landscape.
The politics of Westminster seem to have already taken on a different air, the two main parties are experiencing the fallout, and the United Kingdom could well change too, given calls for a second Scottish referendum and renewed debate about the future position of Northern Ireland within the state. The issue of immigration, itself a reflection of globalisation and the interconnectedness of economies and cultures, as well as of crisis in other parts of the world, has become salient in new and challenging ways.
The composition of the EU will change, and the repercussions of ‘Brexit’ on other member states and on how the EU works are likely to be wide-ranging. Britain’s relations with her European neighbours, as well as with the wider world will all be affected, and Britain’s place in the world is likely to be fundamentally altered. The process of leaving the EU is uncertain, and this question will define British politics in the years to come.
The Britain and Europe Unit aims to bring together academics, in SPIRE and across Keele, whose research focuses on aspects of Britain’s relations with the EU and with other European countries, on the politics and institutions of the EU, and on British and European politics and society.
By Dr Helen Parr and Dr Liz Carter