Withdrawal symptoms: Party factions, political change and British foreign policy post-Brexit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The effects of Brexit on British foreign, security and defence policy have been complex. Initial efforts to agree structured cooperation failed, with later governments refusing to negotiate on this area, followed by unstructured re-engagement after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This article argues that these changes can be explained by reference to the factional politics during the Brexit negotiations within the Conservative Party, with the defeat of May’s Withdrawal Agreement bringing to power a pro-Brexit faction with a distinct foreign policy worldview and incentives to demonstrate a cleaner break from the European Union. Empirically, the article draws on a series of interviews conducted with UK and EU policymakers. The findings demonstrate the significance of ideology and party factions in a policy domain where the UK is powerful enough to treat EU institutions as useful rather than necessary, and shows the direct and indirect ways factional politics brings about external change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2468-2491
JournalJournal of European Public Policy
Issue number11
Early online date17 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Brexit
  • British foreign policy
  • European security
  • ideology
  • party politics
  • United Kingdom


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