Not available in 2022/23
EU4A1      Half Unit
The Politics and Policies of 'Brexit': The UK's changing relationship with the European Union

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Kevin Featherstone CBG 5.04 and Prof Antony Travers CBG.5.28


This course is available on the MSc in Culture and Conflict in a Global Europe, MSc in Culture and Conflict in a Global Europe (LSE & Sciences Po), MSc in European and International Public Policy, MSc in European and International Public Policy (LSE and Bocconi), MSc in European and International Public Policy (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in Political Economy of Europe, MSc in Political Economy of Europe (LSE and Sciences Po) and MSc in The Global Political Economy of China and Europe (LSE and Fudan). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

This course examines the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union as an agenda of ongoing significance for both the UK and the EU27.  With many issues under continuing review, it is an important focus for the UK and  for the EU.  To reflect the complexity of BREXIT, the course examines its politics and its policy implications as an episode and in the longer term.

The course begins with consideration of how BREXIT occurred: the history of a troubled relationship; the issue of EU membership in domestic party and electoral politics; and the course of the BREXIT negotiations themselves.  BREXIT requires much adjustment in terms of governance and policies.  The course examines these across a set of major policy agendas and discusses the implications for both the UK and for the EU27.  With unresolved issues even after the UK’s final departure from transitional arrangements, the discussion highlights the continuing significance of the BREXIT agenda for London and Brussels

The following is an indicative outline of topics covered. 

  • ‘Europe’ in Post-War British Politics: why the reluctant partner?
  • The EU Issue in Party Politics
  • The Brexit Divide in Electoral Politics 
  • Getting to a Deal/ No Deal: the two sides in the BREXIT negotiations
  • Managing BREXIT and Beyond: the impact on Whitehall
  • BREXIT and foreign and security policies
  • BREXIT and migration 
  • BREXIT and The City
  • BREXIT and the UK economy
  • The US: ‘BREXIT’ and Europe.


This course is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars totalling a minimum of 25 hours across Michaelmas Term. The teaching will be delivered this year through a combination of online and on-campus formats (or if required, online only). This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of Michaelmas Term.

Formative coursework

An early formative essay will address a challenging interpretive question of a historical nature or of current political behaviour. Thereafter, group work/presentations will be part of the learning process for the the origination of an individual, extended policy paper (summative).  The group work will have explored the issues and implications of a particular policy area; tutor support will be provided for the subsequent individual papers (design; coverage; sources; analytical frame). 

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 Polot: 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 LSE project: 'Generation BREXIT'.


Project (100%, 5000 words) in the LT.

The summative assessment for this course is a Policy Project which requires students to prepare an extended analysis of a specific policy issue that has arisen from the ‘BREXIT’ process.

Key facts

Department: European Institute

Total students 2021/22: 26

Average class size 2021/22: 13

Controlled access 2021/22: Yes

Lecture capture used 2021/22: Yes (MT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

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