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Understanding Englishness

Examining who we are amid constant political change.

Houses of Parliament, London
Houses of Parliament, London

Following studies in Scotland and Wales, our political researchers used their skills in the analysis of national identity to determine 'Englishness' within the United Kingdom in the face of changing political and constitutional attitudes.

The report was an essential, clear and helpful foundation for the Commission’s understanding of the contents and direction of the ‘English Question’ in spring of 2013. On that basis, the Commission was enabled to make proposals for a solution to the West Lothian Question.

William McKay Chairman, McKay Commission

Growing English identity

Our politics staff at the Wales Governance Centre worked with the University of Edinburgh and the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) to study the place of England and Englishness in the UK through the 'Future of England Survey', first conducted by YouGov in July 2011. There have now been three 'Future of England Survey' reports, the latest of which was launched in October 2014.

The analysis found a growing emphasis on Englishness, with increased support for England to be recognised in the governing structures of the UK and dealt with as a distinct 'unit.'

People who identified strongly as English were more likely to support an English parliament or English votes for English laws.

Public debate

The research has had a substantial impact on public debates and policy around the place of England and Englishness within the UK.

Informing opinion

The research stimulated widespread public and media debate on the status of England within the United Kingdom, including coverage across all main national quality newspapers and broadcasters.

The research directly influenced the Final Report of the McKay Commission, which examined the consequences of devolution for the House of Commons, and it influenced the Labour Party's constitutional thinking.

Meet our experts

Professor Richard Wyn Jones

Professor Richard Wyn Jones

Professor of Welsh Politics

Welsh speaking
+44(0)29 2087 5448