English independence

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England (red) within the United Kingdom (pink) along with Republic of Ireland and Isle of Man

English independence is a political stance advocating secession of England, the largest and most populous country of the British Isles, from the United Kingdom. Support for secession of England has been influenced by the increasing devolution of political powers to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, where independence from the United Kingdom is a prominent subject of political debate.[1]

English independence is seen by its advocates as a way to resolve the West Lothian question in British politics: Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs in the Parliament of the United Kingdom at Westminster can vote on matters affecting England, while English MPs do not have the same power over equivalent issues in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as these powers are devolved to the Scottish Parliament, Northern Ireland Assembly or the National Assembly for Wales.[2][3]

While some minor political parties have campaigned for English independence, all major UK-wide political parties adhere to the opposing view of British unionism, and oppose altering the constitutional status of England.[4] Scottish demands for independence, rather than English demands, are seen as the most pressing threat to British unity; Scotland voted against independence at the referendum on 18 September 2014.[5] and a second vote is proposed in late 2018 or early 2019.


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Further information: History of England

The English national identity developed over a long period of time. The Kingdom of England came into being in the 10th century: it spanned much of the southern two-thirds of Great Britain and a number of smaller outlying islands. The Norman conquest of Wales from 1067–1283 (formalized by the Statute of Rhuddlan in 1284) placed Wales under English control, and Wales came under English law with the Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542, which disestablished the Principality of Wales.

In 1603, the Union of the Crowns took place when the death of Elizabeth I resulted in James VI, King of Scots, acceding to the English throne, placing England and Scotland under personal union. In 1707, the Acts of Union were passed by both the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland, forming the Kingdom of Great Britain. The measure was deeply unpopular in both Scotland and England. The Scottish signatories to the Act were forced to sign the documents in secrecy because of mass rioting and unrest in the Scottish capital, Edinburgh. Scotland did however retain Scots law, a legal system distinct from that used in England and Wales.

In 1800, the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland both passed new Acts of Union, creating the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. In 1921, the Anglo-Irish Treaty was agreed, allowing Southern Ireland under the Irish Free State to become a Dominion, resulting in only Northern Ireland remaining within the UK, which in 1927 was formally renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Arguments for English independence[edit]

Advocates of English sovereignty state that a sovereign England would enjoy one of the world's strongest economies, with an estimated GDP of US$2.865 trillion as of 2015, making it the world's 5th, 6th, or 7th largest economy depending on measurement. It is also claimed that England would be the 15th wealthiest nation in the world, with a GDP per capita of US$51,669[citation needed]. Compare this with $43,378 for Scotland,[6] $30,546 for Wales[citation needed]and $31,698 for Northern Ireland[citation needed], or $37,659 for the UK minus England[citation needed].

Along with London, the leading major world city and the world's largest financial centre, as its capital,[7] England would continue to possess an enviable education system that includes some of the world's most prestigious universities, with the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge and colleges of the University of London regularly featuring among the top 10 of the QS World University Rankings.[8][irrelevant citation]

Supporters of English Independence[edit]

Political parties

Opinion polls[edit]

The English nationalist movement has its roots in a historical legacy which predates the United Kingdom and which is quite capable of including new entrants to the country of England.[clarification needed] The rise in English identity in recent years, as evidenced by the increased display of the English flag (particularly during international sporting competitions and in relation to their football team), is sometimes attributed in the media to the increased devolution of political power to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. One possible incentive for the establishment of self-governing English political institutions is the West Lothian question: the constitutional inconsistency whereby MPs from all four nations of the UK can vote on matters that solely affect England, while those same matters are reserved to the devolved assemblies of the other nations. (For example, the Scottish MP for West Lothian has a say on policing in the West Midlands.)

Contemporary English nationalist movements differ significantly from mainstream Scottish, Welsh and Cornish nationalist movements (whilst similar to some strands of Irish nationalism) insofar as they are often associated with support for right-of-centre economic and social policies. Nationalists elsewhere in the UK tend towards a social democratic political stance. English nationalism is also often associated with Euroscepticism: one reason for opposition to the EU is the view that England is being arbitrarily subdivided into regions at the behest of the European Union.

Polling data for English devolution and independence may be found in the table below.

Date Independence (%) Status Quo (%) English parliament (%) English votes for English laws (%) Regional Assemblies (%) End Devolution (%) Don't know/None (%)
20/09/14 [16] N/A 19% N/A 65% N/A N/A 16%
20/09/14 [16] N/A 11% 59% N/A N/A N/A 20%
13/01/12 [17] N/A 16% 49% N/A N/A N/A 35%
06/12/11 [18] N/A 21% 52% N/A N/A 14% 13%
15/04/10 [19] N/A 20% 68% N/A N/A N/A 12%
30/04/09 [20] N/A 15% 41% N/A N/A N/A 44%
09/09/09 [21] N/A 20% 58% N/A N/A N/A 22%
06/12/07 [22] 15% 32% 20% 25% N/A N/A 8%
19/04/07 [23] N/A 24.25% 67.32% N/A N/A N/A 8.43%
05/04/07 [24] N/A 12% 21% 51% N/A N/A 16%
08/01/07 [25] N/A 32% 61% N/A N/A N/A 7%
07/01/07 [26] N/A 41.22% 51.42% N/A N/A N/A 7.36%
23/11/06 [27] N/A 25.35% 68.43% N/A N/A N/A 6.22%
08/07/06 [28] N/A 32% 41% N/A 14% N/A 13%
23/02/06 [29] N/A 23.76% 11.88% 46.53% 10.89% N/A 6.93%
07/04/02 [30] N/A N/A 47% N/A 28% N/A 25%


A political party campaigning for English Independence was formed in February 2008, the Free England Party, it achieving some minor electoral success before disbanding in December 2009. The main contemporary political party advocating English independence is the English Democrats.[31] An English Independence party was registered in 2016;[32] its leader Neil Humphrey changed his name by deed-poll to 'Corbyn Anti' (in order to appear on the ballot paper as "ANTI, Corbyn") to stand in the Batley and Spen by-election, 2016.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fraser Nelson (16 April 2008). "Alex Salmond is nudging the English towards independence without them realising it". The Spectator. Archived from the original on July 4, 2016. 
  2. ^ Tim Luckhurst (9 May 2010). "The English question is still unanswered". The Independent. 
  3. ^ Alex Salmond (20 March 2007). "Only Scottish independence can solve the 'English Question'". The Telegraph. 
  4. ^ Rupa Huq (23 April 2010). "The chimera of an English parliament". The Guardian. 
  5. ^ James Macintyre (28 March 2010). "Would the UK break up under the Conservatives?". New Statesman. ; http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/
  6. ^ Scottish Government. "Key Economy Statistics". Scotland.gov.uk. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  7. ^ "Britain overtakes US as top financial centre". Telegraph. 2009-10-08. Retrieved 2014-02-21. 
  8. ^ "QS World University Rankings - 2012". Top Universities. 2012-12-19. Retrieved 2014-02-21. 
  9. ^ "10 Candidates Named in Batley and Spen By-Election". Capitalfm.com. Retrieved 2016-09-28. 
  10. ^ "View registration - The Electoral Commission". Search.electoralcommission.org.uk. Retrieved 2016-09-28. 
  11. ^ Tom Gordon (2016-08-28). "Party's anti-Indyref slogan rejected as "offensive"". Heraldscotland.com. Retrieved 2016-09-28. 
  12. ^ "English Democrats seek independence for England". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-09-28. 
  13. ^ McKinstry, Leo. "Leo McKinstry on Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish National Party and English independence". Express.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-09-28. 
  14. ^ "'Why a one-way bet?' UKIP donor calls for English independence from UK". Rt.com. 2014-09-25. Retrieved 2016-09-28. 
  15. ^ "Roger Scruton on English Independence". YouTube. 2014-03-03. Retrieved 2016-09-28. 
  16. ^ a b Walters, Simon. "You say YES to English votes for English laws: MoS poll shows fury over handouts to Scots". Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-06-24. 
  17. ^ "Sunday Telegraph - Scottish Independence Survey" (PDF). 13 January 2012. Archived from the original on 2016-10-13. Retrieved 2016-10-13. 
  18. ^ "British Future - State of the Nation Poll - Main & Scotland Boost" (PDF). Toque.co.uk. 6 December 2011. Retrieved 2016-06-24. [permanent dead link]
  19. ^ "OmPolitical-Poll.wyp" (PDF). Toque.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-06-24. [permanent dead link]
  20. ^ "The Times Scotland Poll (GB) Survey" (PDF). Toque.co.uk. 30 April 2009. Retrieved 2016-06-24. [permanent dead link]
  21. ^ "Market Research Background" (PDF). Toque.co.uk. January 2009. Retrieved 2016-06-24. [permanent dead link]
  22. ^ "Fieldwork dates: The dates are shown as a sub-header on each page of the computer tables" (PDF). Toque.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-06-24. [permanent dead link]
  23. ^ "OmEnglishParliament.wyp" (PDF). Toque.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-06-24. [permanent dead link]
  24. ^ "Survey Report" (PDF). Toque.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-06-24. [permanent dead link]
  25. ^ "An English Parliament but no more Independence" (PDF). Toque.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-06-24. [permanent dead link]
  26. ^ "OmUnion-England.wyp" (PDF). Toque.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-06-24. [permanent dead link]
  27. ^ "Opinion Poll" (PDF). Toque.co.uk. 22 November 2006. Retrieved 2016-06-24. [permanent dead link]
  28. ^ "The demand for an English Parliament : Commissioned by the English Constitutional Convention" (PDF). Toque.co.uk. 26 June 2006. Retrieved 2016-06-24. [permanent dead link]
  29. ^ "Robin Tilbrook.Xls" (PDF). Toque.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-06-24. [permanent dead link]
  30. ^ "Far more support for an English Parliament that Regional Assemblies" (PDF). Toque.co.uk. 7 April 2002. Retrieved 2016-06-24. [permanent dead link]
  31. ^ "English Democrats seek independence for England". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-06-24. 
  32. ^ "Registration summary; English Independence". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 28 October 2016.