Brexit and beyond

As the UK moves into a period of political and constitutional flux, History & Policy’s network of expert historians can offer historical context and parallels from the past, to help policymakers and media make sense of unfolding events. If you would like to speak to any of the experts featured, please contact us. If you would like to submit a paper, please see the editorial guidelines.


Policy Papers

Brexit and the history of policing the Irish border

Since 1949, there have been no immigration restrictions between the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Evan Smith looks at what Brexit could mean for the Good Friday agreement and Anglo-Irish relations.

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The case for Brexit: lessons from the 1960s and 1970s

Contrary to Eurosceptic opinion today, the UK did not stumble blindly into the EEC in 1973, nor vote to stay on a false prospectus, argues Dr Adrian Williamson, who considers lessons from the country’s original engagement with Europe.

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Alas, poor Europe

Europe on its 60th birthday – the anniversary of the Treaty of Rome falls on 25 March. Eirini Karamouzi and Luc-Andre Brunet look back at Europe’s capacity for reinvention and ask what comes next.

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Opinion Articles

The power of the popular referendum - the case of Greenland

This is not the first time a popular vote to leave Europe has brought constitutional arrangements into question. Jens Wendel-Hansen looks at the case of Greenland in 1985.

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Theresa May’s Cabinet - a break with the past?

Theresa May's appointments appear distinctive and new in several ways, but Michael Kandiah argues the patterns and pressures behind them are the same as under previous Prime Ministers

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“Unelected” Prime Ministers

Will Theresa May be weakened by becoming Prime Minister without an election? Dr Andrew Blick looks at the historical precedents.

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Brexit, the Commonwealth and the problem of imperial nostalgia - a response

N. C. Fleming responds to Evan Smith and Stephen Gray's recent opinion piece and argues that the Brexiteers deployed nostalgia more out of political expediency than conviction

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The EU Referendum result in historical perspective: the need for reform of Westminster

Professor Simon Szreter looks at the EU referendum in the context of our voting system and its historical trends

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Planning for the referendum and after: Lessons from 1975

David Thackeray looks at the historical context of the 1975 EEC referendum and asks what lessons pollsters and civil servants can learn from it. 

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Brexit, imperial nostalgia and the “white man’s world”

The Brexiteer's call of closer trade ties with the Commonwealth are not new. Evan Smith and Steven Gray explore the history. 

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‘Leading the world?’ The historical fantasy of May’s vision for post-Brexit Britain

Matthew Grant assesses Theresa May's Philadelphia speech - what does it show us about her inadequate grasp of the history of British international affairs?

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Lost in translation: Brexit and the Anglo-German relationship

Helene von Bismarck argues that British Prime Ministers have fundamentally misunderstood what the European project means to Germany

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About Us


With long-established offices in King's College London and the University of Cambridge, H&P is an expanding Partnership currently supported by 6 Higher Education Institutes: King’s College London, University of Bristol, University of Cambridge, The University of Edinburgh, University of Leeds, and The University of Sheffield.

We are the only project in the UK providing access to an international network of more than 500 historians with a broad range of expertise. H&P offers a range of resources for historians, policy makers and journalists.

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