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

This information is for the 2020/21 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.


This year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of online and on-campus lectures and classes in the Michaelmas term. This course will hold a Reading Week in Michaelmas Term Week 6.

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.


Project (80%, 3000 words) in the LT.
Group presentation (10%) and essay plan (10%) in the MT.

The summative assessment for this course takes the form of:


  • Group seminar presentation (10%)
  • Individual Policy Project Plan - up to 1000 words (10%)
  • Individual Policy Project - up to 3,000 words (80%)

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: European Institute

Total students 2019/20: 29

Average class size 2019/20: 14

Capped 2019/20: Yes (30)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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