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The UK and the European Union

3. Impact of EU Membership on UK Politics

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About this Lecture


In this module, we take the UK as a case study to explore three ways in which the EU shapes the political landscape of its member states. Firstly, we think about the institutional adaptations that are required to co-ordinate the UK government’s interactions with the EU. Secondly, we consider the political impacts of membership, which has always been a potent force in British political discourse, noting in particular the creation of new political parties such as UKIP and the Brexit Party. Finally, we look at how EU membership affects UK policy, focusing on the requirement to comply with EU law, but also noting the negativity bias in discussion of EU-influenced policies.


In this lecture, Dr Simon Usherwood (University of Surrey) thinks about the European Union and its relationship with the United Kingdom, focusing in particular on Brexit. We begin in the first module by thinking about how the EU came into being, paying close regard to the window of opportunity for European integration that arose after the Second World War. In the second module, we think about the complex question of how best to understand the EU, introducing the ideas of ‘intergovernmentalism’ and ‘supranationalism’ to help us make sense of its structure and operation. We then move on in the third module to consider the impact of EU membership on UK political life, using this as a lens to cast light on EU-member state interactions more broadly. Finally, in the fourth module, we address the thorny question of Brexit, thinking in particular about the reasons why the 2016 Referendum was called, the sheer complexity of the UK’s entanglement with Europe, and what this means for the future.


Dr Simon Usherwood is Reader in Politics at the University of Surrey. He has been researching euroscepticism since the late 1990s. His work considers broad theoretical and practical questions about this phenomenon, as well as more specific work on the UK, on UK-EU relations, on the role of pressure groups and on the media profile of eurosceptics.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Usherwood, S. (2019, September 26). The UK and the European Union - Impact of EU Membership on UK Politics [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Usherwood, S. "The UK and the European Union – Impact of EU Membership on UK Politics." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 26 Sep 2019,

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