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      When Planets Collide: The British Conservative Party and the Discordant Goals of Delivering Brexit and Preserving the Domestic Union, 2016–2019

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      Political Studies

      SAGE Publications

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          Abstract

          This article explores how the British Conservative Party has dealt with the dilemmas arising from its pursuit of two increasingly discordant goals: delivering Brexit and maintaining the domestic Union. Drawing on interviews and analyses of parliamentary debates, we identify a resurgence in the 2016–2019 period of an older belief in a unitarist state, and a new form of pro-Union activism in policy terms. Against those commentators who depict Britain’s Conservatives as having abandoned their unionist vocation, we explore the coalescence of a more assertive and activist strain of unionist sentiment. But we also find a willingness among Conservatives at the centre to sub-contract thinking about non-English parts of the UK to ‘local’ political representatives such as the Democratic Unionist Party and the Scottish Conservatives, and a growing anxiety about how to handle emergent tensions between the competing priorities associated with delivering Brexit and maintaining the domestic Union.

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          Most cited references 19

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          Devolution in the UK

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            How Brexit was made in England

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              The Death of Britain?

               John Redwood (1999)
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Political Studies
                Political Studies
                SAGE Publications
                0032-3217
                1467-9248
                June 20 2020
                : 003232172093098
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
                Article
                10.1177/0032321720930986
                © 2020

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