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Insight paper

Views on the constitution from across the UK

Lessons from a series of roundtables

Review of the UK constitution

In February 2022, the Institute for Government and the Bennett Institute for Public Policy launched a Review of the UK Constitution to assess the current functioning of the UK constitution with the aim of proposing practical, innovative and robust ideas for reform. In order to understand the different constitutional perspectives from each part of the UK, between October 2022 and February 2023 we hosted four roundtables across the UK on the constitution. Participants at these roundtables included academics, current and former civil servants, journalists, former politicians and members of the private sector, who came together to discuss issues of governance, the constitution and Westminster’s relationship with the rest of the UK. 

The first roundtable was held in Belfast in October 2022 in partnership with the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace at Queen’s University Belfast. 

The second roundtable was held in Edinburgh in November 2022 in partnership with the Royal Society of Edinburgh. 

The third roundtable was held in Newcastle in November 2022 with the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies. 

The fourth roundtable was held in Cardiff in February 2023 with Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre.

This paper pulls together key findings from this roundtable series, and identifies the most important insights from these roundtables including that: 

  • Devolution feels under threat in Scotland and Wales. 
  • Devolution lacks strong constitutional protections. 
  • Devolution is reliant on relationships as well as structures.
  • There is a lack of understanding and consideration of the nations and regions at the centre of government.
  • The approach to devolution needs to be tailored to each part of the UK.

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