GV3A1      Half Unit
The Politics and Policies of 'Brexit': The UK's changing relationship with the European Union

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Kevin Featherstone CBG.5.04 and Prof Antony Travers


This course is available on the BSc in Government, BSc in Government and Economics, BSc in Government and History, BSc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, BSc in Politics, BSc in Politics and Economics, BSc in Politics and History, BSc in Politics and International Relations and BSc in Politics and Philosophy. This course is not available as an outside option nor to General Course students.

Course content

‘BREXIT’ represents one of the most significant challenges to the modern British political system in peacetime.  This course will examine how the UK’s membership of the European Union became problematic and the implications of ‘BREXIT’ for government and politics.  It will provide students with appropriate conceptual and analytical frames by which to understand the path towards ‘BREXIT’ and the challenges that arise from it.  In doing so, the dynamics and uncertainties of ‘BREXIT’ will be contextualised within a longer-term perspective and one that recognises the ongoing interests and norms involved in the relationship.  Students will be introduced to the key issues for public policy and their possible impacts.  Students will gain an appreciation of the contending arguments and interpretations, as well as the public policy dilemmas of dealing with uncertainty and limits to knowledge. No prior knowledge of the European Union will be assumed.  The course will adopt a broad disciplinary perspective - covering the political, political sociology, political economy, constitutional, and foreign policy/external relations dimensions.    Students will have the opportunity to explore the arguments, issues and interpretations in group work, presentations, and written essays.

Note: the lectures are to be shared with MSc students.  The seminar questions for the UG students differ from those for MSc students, taking account of the different stages of study and the intended learning outcomes.


10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the MT. 1 hour of lectures in the ST.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the MT.

The formative essay (1500 words), due by mid-term, will address a question relevant to the impact of BREXIT on the UK political system, drawing upon the readings and seminar discussion.

Indicative reading

  • D. Dinan et al, eds. (2017) The European Union in Crisis; London: Palgrave.
  • A. Geddes (2013) Britain and the European Union; London: Palgrave.
  • B. Simms (2016) Britain's Europe: A Thousand Years of Conflict and Cooperation. London: Allen Lane.
  • S. Wall (2008) A Stranger in Europe: Britain and the EU from Thatcher to Blair.  Oxford: OUP.
  • H. Young (1998)  This Blessed Plot: Britain and Europe from Churchill to Blair.  London: Macmillan.
  • K. Armstrong (2017) BREXIT Time: Leaving the EU -why, how and when? Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • H. Clarke, M. Goodwin and P. Whiteley (2017) BREXIT: Why Britain voted to leave the European Union.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • E. O. Eriksen and J. E. Fossum (2015) The European Union's Non-Members: independence under hegemony? London: Routledge.
  • S. Hobolt (2016) 'The BREXIT vote: a divided nation, a divided continent', Journal of European Public Policy, 23, 9.   And 'Debate Section': 'British exit from the EU - legal and political implications', in the same issue.
  • L. Halligan and G. Lyons (2017), Clean BREXIT: Why leaving the EU still makes sense; London: Biteback Publishing.
  • The 'Generation BREXIT' website - an LSE project.


Essay (80%, 3000 words) in the LT.
Presentation (10%) and essay plan (10%) in the MT.

Key facts

Department: European Institute

Total students 2018/19: 26

Average class size 2018/19: 13

Capped 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication