The 23 June 2016 referendum on Britain’s EU membership exposed deep fractures within the British party system. Products of global political, cultural, and financial trends, these fractures have diminished the power of the U.K. government and of other Western democracies alike. Though the EU’s role in these changes was ambiguous, it became a scapegoat for them, and on the initiative of Conservative Party’s David Cameron, the June up-or-down vote on EU membership was held. But instead of resolving the parties’ problems, the referendum has left the U.K. party structure more skewed than ever. Though it is not yet clear that all of their leaders understand this, the Conservative and Labour parties are in deep crisis, and so is British democracy.
Britain After Brexit: A Transformed Political Landscape
Issue Date January 2017
Page Numbers 53-58