On Thursday 16 June the Constitution Unit hosted the last in a series of events relating to the referendum on the UK’s EU membership. The murder of Jo Cox and subsequent suspension of referendum campaigning meant that the planned format had to be changed, with an expert panel rather than politicians taking centre stage. Despite this around 600 people attended and contributed greatly to a lively discussion that covered a very wide range of topics relating to the referendum. Oliver Patel reports.
Over the past few months, the Constitution Unit has hosted a series of seminars and published a number of briefing papers on the constitutional consequences of Brexit. We have organised these jointly with the UCL European Institute and UCL School of Public Policy, with funding from the UK in a Changing Europe initiative based at King’s College London. As part of the series, we gathered a range of experts to discuss the potential impact of Brexit on Whitehall and Westminster, the devolved nations and the rest of the EU. All of our videos and briefing papers can be found here. Thursday 16 June marked the end of this series as we held our largest event to date: The UCL EU Referendum Debate.
Following the tragic murder of Jo Cox and the subsequent suspension of activity by both the Leave and the Remain campaigns, we changed the event’s format. We had planned a debate among politicians, with a panel of academic experts ‘fact-checking’ their claims. This changed on the night to a ‘Meet the Experts Q&A’, with the academics taking centre stage. Around 600 people attended, and many had the chance to put referendum-related questions to the panel.
The panellists were Dr Swati Dhingra (Lecturer in Economics at LSE), Professor Anand Menon (Director of the UK in a Changing Europe initiative), Dr Alan Renwick (Deputy Director of the Constitution Unit), and Dr Simon Usherwood (Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Surrey). The event was chaired by the Director of the Constitution Unit, Professor Meg Russell.