Brexit: national identity and ethnicity in the referendum


In the referendum on EU membership held on 23 June, local authorities with higher proportions of people identifying as ‘English only’ recorded higher vote shares to leave the EU, while polling data suggest that ethnic minorities were more likely to vote Remain. Is there a relationship between national identity and ethnicity on the one hand, and votes in the referendum on the other?

Continue reading

Brexit: the People vs. Parliament?

An increasing number of voices suggest Parliament needs to be involved in triggering Article 50, the first legal step towards the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. But while 51.9% voted to leave the European Union in the referendum on 23 June 2016, only 24% of MPs declared support for Leave during the referendum campaign. This raises the ancient question of how MPs should vote, in the case of a motion to implement ‘Brexit’: should they simply follow the desires of their constituents, expressed so clearly in a referendum? Or should they follow what Burke famously called their own ‘enlightened conscience’?

Comparing BBC data on MPs’ positions in the debate on EU membership to regional results and constituency predictions by the academic Chris Hanretty (University of East Anglia) shows how common splits between the people and their representatives were.

Continue reading

South Africa’s municipal elections: a “political turning point”?

South Africa’s municipal elections are scheduled to take place on 3 August. One think-tank has argued that the next few months could be a “political turning point” for the country, with the ruling African National Congress (ANC) losing significant support to newly resurgent opposition parties, most notably the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

Continue reading

Brexit: how did the UK vote?

The UK voted to leave the European Union on 23rd June 2016. Leave won 51.9% of the vote across the UK, including 53.4% in England, 52.5% in Wales, 44.2% in Northern Ireland and 38.0% in Scotland. Remain won over 50% of the vote in three electoral regions: Scotland, Northern Ireland and London.

Early analysis suggests a strong correlation between the proportion of people who voted Leave and the proportion of people who voted for UKIP in the 2014 European Parliament elections. There was also a strong correlation between leave votes and the proportion of people who were not graduates. Leave votes were more weakly correlated with social grade and age.

Continue reading

Nigeria: Buhari at the one-year mark

29 May marks the first anniversary of Muhammadu Buhari’s inauguration as President of Nigeria. Analysts have been busy assessing his performance so far.

Alarmingly, the Financial Times has reported that “Nigerians are impatient for the gains they voted for and have little appetite for further pain […] confidence in President Muhammadu Buhari, elected a year ago on a wave of hope, is evaporating.”

Continue reading

More light, less heat: our EU Referendum analysis

Last week MPs debated an E-petition on the Government’s EU Referendum Leaflet. Over 220,000 people have signed, objecting to the Government using taxpayer’s money to fund pro-EU campaign materials.

Since plans to distribute the leaflet were made public there have been suggestions from MPs that the Library should publish a similar guide outlining the facts to help people to make up their minds on June 23rd.

This seems like a good time to set out how we see as our role in providing information relevant to the referendum, and what we have produced so far. Continue reading

The EU referendum count

This is the first UK-wide referendum to be counted overnight. Neither of the two previous UK-wide referendums provide much in the way of helpful precedent on when we will know whether the UK and Gibraltar electorate have voted to leave or remain part of the EU. It’s a safe assumption that it will be a long night for all involved.

This blog post explains what to expect on the night of the count on the 23/24 June. More detail is available in Library briefing 7588 – EU referendum – the count.

Although much of the counting process will be similar to general election counts there are some parts of the process that will be less familiar, and different terminology like ‘regional counts’, ‘counting areas’ and ‘counting officers’.

The statutory rules that have to be followed when handling ballot papers at polling stations and postal ballots and the processes to be followed at count venues are very similar to general elections. These are designed to ensure the guiding principles of UK elections and referendums are adhered to:

  • ensuring a result is declared swiftly and accurately,
  • the number of ballots received at the count tallies with the number of ballots sent out to polling station,
  • the counting process is legal and impartial, and
  • voter secrecy is maintained.

Continue reading

Steel in crisis: timeline and events in Parliament

Since the summer of 2015 the British steel industry has been in turmoil. Steel plants have closed, several steel manufacturing companies have gone into liquidation, and others have been restructured. There have been around 5,000 jobs lost in the industry, with redundancies across the country, most numerously in Redcar, Hartlepool, South Wales and Motherwell.

Continue reading

Apprenticeships and success for young people

Between 2010 and 2015, apprenticeship starts numbers rose sharply, to 2.4 million in 2015. The Government has also committed to creating 3 million additional apprenticeship starts by 2020 and recently highlighted the increasing number of people aged under 19 years taking up apprenticeships since August 2015. However, recent analysis by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission points to some worrying findings about apprenticeships for young people and success rates in apprenticeships.

Continue reading