Scotland, Conservatism and the British Union, 2015-2020

Margaret Arnott*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter examines the approach of UK Conservative Governments 2015–2020 to the territorial governance of the multinational UK and Scotland. The nature of Unionism for UK Conservative Governments 2015–2020 changed significantly following the referendum result of 2016. Legislation in 1998 that established the devolved Scottish Parliament was interwoven with continued UK membership of the EU, with devolved responsibilities interwoven with EU matters and responsibilities. The chapter explores whether constitutional challenges prior to the 2016 EU Referendum, underpinned by the electoral divergence between Scotland and England, were not only intensified after 2016 but that this marked a new period in the UK Conservative Government handling of the ‘devolution settlement’ in Scotland. By March 2020, government interventions in the UK as response to the COVID-19 pandemic shaped the nature of inter-governmental relations in the devolved UK and the approach of the Johnston Government to the constitution and devolution was characterised as ‘muscular’ unionism.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConservatives Governments in the Age of Brexit
EditorsMatt Beech, Simon Lee
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9783031214646
ISBN (Print)9783031214639, 9783031214660
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2023


  • Brexit
  • devolution
  • unionism
  • territorial governance
  • Scotland


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