This article analyses the claims for national sovereignty made in the British Conservative and Labour parties. In Britain, national sovereignism has been embedded within an entrenched tradition of Euroscepticism, whereas populist claims have periodically punctuated the discourse of both main parties, before emerging with more vocal tones during the discussion on Brexit. While most sovereigntist claims share some degree of populism, we reserve the populist label for what we identify as explicitly populist claims (as opposed to four other categories of sovereignism). After presenting a historical recall of the main dynamics of sovereigntist claims in British politics, we hypothesise that different types of sovereigntist discourses feature in the major British parties. While ‘nationalist-populist’ sovereignism should prevail in the Conservative party, we expect ‘economic’ sovereignism to be the form mainly used by the Labour party. Systematically analysing the debates in the House of Commons on all divisions on the EU from the 2015 General Election to the end of October 2017, we show that significant differences on the use of sovereignist claims exist both within and across British parties. We find that national populist claims dominate among Tory MPs and civic sovereignism prevails over economic sovereignism among Labour members.

Taking back control? Brexit, sovereignism and populism in Westminster (2015–17)

Baldini G.
;
2020

Abstract

This article analyses the claims for national sovereignty made in the British Conservative and Labour parties. In Britain, national sovereignism has been embedded within an entrenched tradition of Euroscepticism, whereas populist claims have periodically punctuated the discourse of both main parties, before emerging with more vocal tones during the discussion on Brexit. While most sovereigntist claims share some degree of populism, we reserve the populist label for what we identify as explicitly populist claims (as opposed to four other categories of sovereignism). After presenting a historical recall of the main dynamics of sovereigntist claims in British politics, we hypothesise that different types of sovereigntist discourses feature in the major British parties. While ‘nationalist-populist’ sovereignism should prevail in the Conservative party, we expect ‘economic’ sovereignism to be the form mainly used by the Labour party. Systematically analysing the debates in the House of Commons on all divisions on the EU from the 2015 General Election to the end of October 2017, we show that significant differences on the use of sovereignist claims exist both within and across British parties. We find that national populist claims dominate among Tory MPs and civic sovereignism prevails over economic sovereignism among Labour members.
Baldini G.; Bressanelli E.; Gianfreda S.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/691317
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