‘Better informed?’ the impact of the Brexit debate on voters’ attitudes towards the EU

by John Curtice and Sarah Tipping

Do voters know what they are doing? This is a question that is often asked about referendums, not least by those who doubt voters’ ability to grapple with major issues of policy.

Since the EU referendum it has, perhaps, been regarded as a particularly pressing question by some on the Remain side. For example, the charge that many Leave voters were ill-versed in the economic consequences of leaving the EU not be explicit in analysis that has suggested that Leave voting areas were more likely to suffer economically from Brexit, but it is certainly implied. Continue reading

EU citizens after Brexit: understanding the risks

by Madeleine Sumption

Despite major disagreements about how Brexit should be done, politicians across political parties and across the ‘Leave-Remain divide’ agree on one thing: EU citizens already living in the UK will keep their rights to do so after Brexit.

But just because there is some level of political consensus about the issue, it doesn’t mean it will be easy in practice. Continue reading

It’s my party and I’ll join if I want to: explaining the Labour/Conservative divide

by Tim Bale, Paul Webb and Monica Poletti

Party membership is vital to the health of our representative democracy. Members contribute significantly to election campaigns and to party finances. They are the people who pick party leaders. They constitute the pool from which parties choose their candidates. And they help anchor the parties to the principles and people they came into politics to promote and protect.

The Party Members Project began just after the 2015 general election. We surveyed members of the six biggest parties with the support of ESRC funding and YouGov’s huge internet panel.

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The eye of the storm

by Anand Menon

It’s been quite a period for the UK in a Changing Europe, charged by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) with disseminating the findings of academic research on UK-EU relations to as wide an audience as possible. It’s been exciting, stressful at times, but, most of all immensely satisfying as we have, I think, helped persuade the non-academic world of the importance of social science.

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Propping up Parliament

Alexandra Meakin is a doctoral student at the University of Sheffield, where her research is on the restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster. She is a Research Associate on the Designing for Democracy project, led by the Sir Bernard Crick Centre for the Public Understanding of Politics, an ESRC Knowledge Exchange Hub.

As the House of Commons returns this week from the summer recess, MPs will be adjusting to a temporary silence from the chimes of Big Ben. The repairs to the Elizabeth Tower, which contains the Great Bell, have led some politicians and parts of the media to protest that “the very heartbeat of our democracy is falling silent”. The House of Commons Commission is due to meet this month to reconsider the programme of work to address urgent problems with the clock mechanism and the structure of the tower. But while attention has been focused on Big Ben, an anniversary this week serves as a pressing reminder about the worrying state of the rest of the Palace of Westminster.

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