Skip to main content
Centre for European Research

What's next for British Democracy?

9 December 2019

Time: 6:30 - 8:00pm
Venue: Europe House, 32 Smith Square, Westminster, London SW1P 3EU

2019/2020 Debating Europe Seminar Series/ NEXTEUK Lecture

Brexit will bear an enduring mark on the British political landscape and on British society. Hailed for centuries as a beacon of gradualism, stability and resilience, the British political system seems nowadays in a state of permanent convulsion that calls into question its founding pillars as much as its future sustainability. The general public has turned away from the Parliament, that has been unable to find an issue, while trust in traditional political parties, an in particular in the Tories, is deeply eroded. Brexit has unlocked a new set of cleavages which goes beyond traditional party-lines, entrenched political categories and existing nationals’ borders. The British political party system has been hugely impacted, as polarization, fragmentation and the generational gap on the future of the UK politics has significantly widened.

Within that context, what’s next for British Democracy?

The panel discussion will address those issues by offering participants a strategic overview of the current state of British Democracy and the future that lays ahead. Moreover, in the context of a general election that might be shorty inevitable, the event will also shed light on the electoral complexities that a seemingly four-party race entails.

Pauline Schnapper, Professor of British Studies at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University, will start the event presenting ideas from her latest book in which she reflects on the far-reaching consequences that Brexit is imposing not only on the UK parliamentary democracy but also across Europe. The discussions will be joined by Dr Sarah Wolff, Dr Catherine Fieschi and Professor Tim Bale.

The panel discussion will debate the following questions:

  • Is the UK suffering a democratic malaise?
  • Is that just about Brexit or other factors are in play?
  • Is it time to reform the first-past-the-post (FTPT) system according to a much more fragmented political landscape?
  • Has the pure majoritarian electoral system contributed in seeding the seeds of discontent among those felt unrepresented?
  • How the next general elections look like?
  • How to fix the generational and geographical gaps in which the country is soaked in?
  • To what extent those challenges that British Democracy is facing are part of a broader transformation encompassing liberal-democratic politics as a whole?

The discussion will be followed by a Q&A involving the audience.


  • Prof Pauline Schnapper - Professor of British Studies at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University.
  • Prof Tim Bale - Professor of Politics at Queen Mary University of London and academic member of the Centre for European Research.
  • Dr Catherine Fieschi - Director Global Institute, Queen Mary University of London.
  • Dr Sarah Wolff - Chair- Director of the Centre for European Research and Lecturer in Public Policy at Queen Mary University of London.
Back to top