Theme: Public Policy | Content Type: Journal article

Brexit and the Death of Devolution

Richard Wyn Jones and Kevin Morgan


Work of the Scottish Government

| 1 min read

Devolution was almost universally regarded as heralding a fundamental shift in the nature of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. But, since the 2016 Brexit referendum, the UK government has become increasingly hostile—not only towards the Labour and SNP-run administrations in Scotland and Wales, but to the very existence of devolution. Recent legislative changes—particularly the UK Internal Market Act—have given central government carte blanche to intervene in what were previously regarded as areas of devolved competence. The inevitable result has been to render the governance arrangements for the devolved countries more adversarial and less stable than was previously the case. One immediate consequence of ‘the death of devolution’ has been to trigger calls by devolutionists for more far-reaching changes to the state than were achieved in the late 1990s. It is far from clear, however, that such changes are politically achievable, raising the prospect of an extended period of stasis in which the current arrangements persist, not because they have any real supporters, but rather, because no alternative is possible.

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  • Screenshot_2023-10-30_at_22-01-25_Professor_Richard_Wyn_Jones_-_People_-_C.png

    Richard Wyn Jones

    Richard Wyn Jones is Director of Cardiff University's Wales Governance Centre and Dean of Public Affairs.

    Articles by Richard Wyn Jones
  • Screenshot_2023-10-30_at_22-00-11_Professor_Kevin_Morgan_-_People_-_Cardif.png

    Kevin Morgan

    Kevin Morgan is Professor of Governance and Development at Cardiff University.

    Articles by Kevin Morgan