Andrew Defty, University of Lincoln, analyses the “parliamentary trap” Labour laid for the Government on the release of the Brexit impact assessment studies.
Should the 2015-17 Parliament be remembered for anything more than Brexit? Alexandra Meakin looks at Select Committee work over the last two years.
By Chris Kirkland
One of the main arguments of the Brexit campaign revolves around the concept of ‘sovereignty’. The basic argument put forward by the campaign is that if the British voted to leave the European Union (EU), then ‘we’, the people, would claw back ‘our’ sovereignty. Whilst this argument has been advocated by a range of groups and campaigners (here and here for examples), little attention has actually been spent on understanding the concept of sovereignty on which the argument relies. Here, I ask a series of related questions. What is sovereignty? And as a concept, is there a useful distinction between the holding and the exercise of sovereignty? I ask who the term ‘we’ refers to, and whether sovereignty, resides with Parliament, the electorate or some sense of ‘the people’. How does all this impact the forthcoming EU referendum, and especially the argument that sovereignty has been ‘lost’? These questions matter because both sides have engaged with a very technocratic debate surrounding the economics of remaining or leaving the EU, yet in doing so have arguably simplified a complex issue.