The Chilcot report: a system under strain

, 6 July 2016

In addition to criticising several decisions by the Prime Minister, the report makes systematic criticism of the processes of government. For example: The Joint Intelligence Committee should have made clear to the Prime Minister that “the assessed intelligence had not established beyond doubt either that Saddam Hussein had continued to produce chemical and biological...

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Brexit: what now for Whitehall?

, 6 July 2016

The panel included Bernard Jenkin MP, Chair of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee; Lord Andrew Turnbull, former Cabinet Secretary; Melanie Dawes, Permanent Secretary for DCLG; Jane Dudman, from the Guardian; and Julian McCrae, Deputy Director of the Institute for Government. ‘This is going to be one of the biggest changes, I think,...

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Can Scotland avoid Brexit?

, 5 July 2016

On 23 June, the UK electorate voted by 52-48% to leave the European Union. Membership of the EU is not a devolved matter. The UK is the member state and the UK does not (yet) have a federal system like Australia where constitutional changes must be backed by a majority of voters in a...

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Chilcot: what should we expect?

, 4 July 2016

Intelligence The intelligence failures that supported the decision to invade Iraq have been well explored, including by the Butler Review, which Sir John Chilcot participated in. Iraq was a fabricator’s paradise: there was a high demand for intelligence, but a short supply. Although the intelligence failures were shared with the UK’s main allies, it...

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Conservative leadership contests: past and present

, 3 July 2016

Conservative leadership contests have proved to be notoriously tricky to predict. However, a look back at the history does provide a few lessons to ponder: Being favourite is no guarantee of success Boris Johnson’s last minute decision not to run may provide him with a place in the history books alongside the likes of...

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Brexit – but what about the Queen’s speech?

, 1 July 2016

In May, the Queen’s Speech set out legislative programme for the 2016-17 parliamentary session. Now in July, we have what is effectively a caretaker government, cabinet ministers vying for the top job, and an Opposition party in disarray. But the Government was already under pressure before this referendum. It set an ambitious agenda upon taking...

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