Devolution in the UK

Charlie Jeffery

in The Oxford Handbook of British Politics

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9780199230952
Published online January 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

 Devolution in the UK

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  • UK Politics
  • Regional Political Studies


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This article first presents the features of the union state tradition. It then investigates the central themes in devolution research on the four nations of the UK. In addition, a number of overarching, UK-wide problems which arise from the failure to conceive of devolution as an integrated set of reforms to the UK state are covered. It argues that this disconnected approach to the UK's territorial constitution, while consistent with the traditions of the union state, is inherently unstable now that the UK has several governments rather than one, each with competing mandates. It further sets out a number of scenarios which may emerge as the UK grapples with this new territorial politics. The scope for the UK centre to hold the ring is compromised by its failure to renew itself for the post-devolution era and by its continuing preoccupation with England.

Keywords: UK government; devolution; reforms; territorial constitution; UK state; union state

Article.  9042 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; UK Politics ; Regional Political Studies

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