Joint Conference by The James Madison Charitable Trust and
The Federal Trust for Education and Research

29th October 2022

The union holding together the nations of the United Kingdom has come under strain. Challenges include the announcement of a referendum on independence in Scotland, the constitutional review by the Commission on the Constitutional Future of Wales and the friction caused by the Northern Ireland Protocol imposed by Brexit.

The James Madison Trust and the Federal Trust held an all-day conference discussing these challenges, and federal solutions to them. The day was structured in thematic sessions, discussing a Federal UK as well as focussing on Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England separately.

(Download the programme in PDF format)

Welcome and Introduction –   Session 1: A Federal UK?

    • Professor Andrew Blick, Professor of Politics and Contemporary History, King’s College London; Senior Research Fellow, The Federal Trust

Session 2: Scotland – Is independence inevitable?

  • Dr Kirsty Hughes, Writer and commentator on Scottish, EU & UK politics; Founder & Director, Scottish Centre on European Relations (2017 to 2021)
  • David Gow, Editor of; former European Business Editor of ‘The Guardian’

Session 3: Wales – Loosening ties with London?

  • David Melding, Former Member of the Senedd (1999 – 2021)
  • Glyndwr Jones, Author and advocate for a UK-wide constitutional convention; Fellow of the Institute of Welsh Affairs

Session 4: Northern Ireland – A united Ireland in our lifetime?

  • Geoff Martin OBE, Inaugural head of the European Commission Office in Northern Ireland 1979 – 1984, and later Head of the European Commission Representation in the UK, 1993 – 2002
  • Professor Jennifer Todd, Emeritus (Full) Professor, School of Politics and International Relations, University College Dublin; Research Director, Institute for British-Irish Studies, UCD (previously Director)

Session 5: England – Too big for a federal UK?

  • Rt. Hon. Baroness Quin, Former MP for Gateshead East and former Minister for Europe
  • Professor Colin Talbot, Emeritus Professor of Government at the University of Manchester; Research associate at the University of Cambridge and Senior Research Fellow, The Federal Trust

Closing Address

  • Professor Andrew Blick,  Professor of Politics and Contemporary History, King’s College London; Senior Research Fellow, The Federal Trust