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A mobile phone in one hand and Erskine May in the other: The European Research Group’s parliamentary revolution

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Colin MurrayORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


It has become axiomatic that backbench MPs at Westminster have limited the capacity for independent action under the burdens of constituency business and whipped votes. Even the limited avenues available for such MPs to shine, such as select committees, are often illusory, because parliamentarians have little time to prepare the materials or brief themselves on any but the highest profile witnesses. The political parties have benefited from this state of affairs; docile MPs make for reliable votes. The rise of the ERG as a parliamentary force disrupts this narrative. Galvanised by single-issue opposition to the UK’s involvement in “Europe”, be it the EU or the ECHR, the Group successfully exploited the balance of power in the Commons during the 2017-2019 Parliamentary Session. This article analyses the methods by which the Group’s members magnified their influence over Brexit debates.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Murray C, Armstrong M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Parliamentary Affairs

Year: 2022

Volume: 75

Issue: 3

Pages: 536-557

Print publication date: 01/07/2022

Online publication date: 02/03/2021

Acceptance date: 01/02/2021

Date deposited: 10/02/2021

ISSN (print): 0031-2290

ISSN (electronic): 1460-2482

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/pa/gsab004


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