Brexit commentary

Our Brexit experts

Union Jack and EU flag outside Houses of Parliament
Essex academics are available to give expert comment and analysis on the ongoing Brexit debate and the impact on the UK and the EU. They can contribute political, economic, legal and historical perspectives as the UK begins negotiations.

Essex is home to the top political department in the UK and ranks in the UK’s top 20 universities for research excellence.

Selected coverage

Political scientists

Professor Paul Whiteley
Professor Paul Whiteley
Telephone: 07896 317291

A regular on TV and radio, Professor Paul Whiteley has also written many columns for the national newspapers. Paul was co-director of the British Election Study for 12 years and also acted as an academic adviser to the Home Office and the Department of Education.

Paul’s research has influenced both the structure and campaign activities of the main political parties in Britain and has focused on the parties, the behaviour of the electorate and political economy. He is currently writing a book about Brexit.

Brexit areas of expertise

  • Behaviour of the electorate.
  • Campaign activities of the main political parties.
Professor Rob Johns
Professor Rob Johns
Telephone: 07412 225201

One of the Principal Investigators of the 2014 Scottish Referendum Study, Professor Rob Johns enjoyed great prominence as a political pundit during the Scottish Referendum, appearing on Mind Games, BBC Scotland's documentary on the psychology of referendum campaigning, and as the studio psephologist on ITV's live overnight results programme.

Rob’s research focuses on why people think what they think about politics and he can speak widely on what forms the basis of individual voting decisions and the psychology of campaigning – particularly the role of fear, risk and negative versus positive emotions.

Brexit areas of expertise 

  • What forms the basis of individual voting decisions.
  • The psychology of campaigning including fear.
Professor Han Dorussen
Professor Han Dorussen
Telephone: via Comms office 01206 872400

Professor Han Dorussen’s current research includes policy convergence in the European Union.

Brexit areas of expertise

  • How other European countries view Britain and Brexit.
  • The overall impact of Brexit on the future of the EU.
  • The impact of Brexit on the EU’s relations with non-EU countries such as China.
Dr John Bartle
Dr John Bartle
Telephone: via Comms office 01206 872400

Dr John Bartle’s areas of expertise include General Elections from a long term perspective, political leader TV debates, public opinion and voting behaviour and party election broadcasts and broadcasting.

John’s analysis of the positon of the voting public in the run up to last year’s General Election was the focus of a BBC radio and online exclusive.

Brexit areas of expertise

  • Public opinion and voting behaviour.
Professor Jonathan Slapin
Professor Jonathan Slapin
Telephone: via Comms office 01206 872400

Professor Jonathan Slapin is extremely well placed to offer comment and analysis to the Brexit debate as his research focuses on European politics and integration.

Brexit areas of expertise

  • European Union institutions, parliaments, parties and elections.
  • EU bargaining and tactics.
  • EU/European positions towards Brexit.
  • The UK's position in the global economy and global trade post-Brexit.

Business experts

Professor Vania Sena
Professor Vania Sena
Telephone: via Comms office 01206 872400

Professor Vania Sena, based at our Southend Campus, is Head of the Management Science and Entrepreneurship research group of Essex Business School and Director of the ESRC Business and Local Government Data Research Centre.

Her research interests include productivity, the characteristics of innovation in high-growth firms, and the impact of corruption on firms’ performance.

Brexit areas of expertise

  • Impact on business, funding and economic growth.
Professor Jerry Coakley
Professor Jerry Coakley
Telephone: via Comms office 01206 872400

Professor Jerry Coakley is Deputy Director of the ESRC Business and Local Government Data Research Centre. His research interests include mergers and acquisitions, crowdfunding and the financing of SMEs, and commodity market anomalies.

Brexit areas of expertise

  • Impact on business, funding and economic growth.
Professor Tazeeb Rajwani
Professor Tazeeb Rajwani
Telephone: via Comms office 01206 872400

Professor Tazeeb Rajwani is Head of Executive Education at Essex Business School. His research areas include strategic management, nonmarket strategy, corporate political activity, corporate social responsibility and instability in international markets.

Tazeeb has written over 50 academic papers, books, chapters, reports and white papers, and to date his research has been covered by media outlets including the BBC, The Guardian, The Times and the Financial Times.

Brexit areas of expertise

  • Identifying the key political risk factors of Brexit for different companies; migration tax, trade barriers etc.
  • What businesses can put in place to build in the agility required; flexible supply chain, diversification of client base etc.

Economists

Professor Gianluigi Vernasca
Telephone: via Comms office 01206 872400

Having recently given an acclaimed Professorial Inaugural Lecture on the issue of Brexit, Professor Gianluigi Vernasca is ready to offer comment and analysis on the possible economic consequences of leaving the EU.

Brexit areas of expertise

  • International trade between the UK and EU.
  • Regulations the EU may impose on the UK.
  • UK funding to the EU budget.

Sociologists

Professor Andrew Canessa
Professor Andrew Canessa
Telephone: 07913 912701

Gibraltarian and social anthropologist, Professor Andrew Canessa has just completed a three year, ESRC funded oral history project on Gibraltarian identity called Bordering on Britishness. Over the course of the project Andrew and his team interviewed approximately 400 Gibraltarian and Spanish residents, spanning from 16 years old to 101, and covering different ethnic and religious backgrounds.

96% of Gibraltarians voted Remain and Andrew’s interviews lay testament to the notion that most Gibraltarians see themselves as British, with a strong European identity. So what lies ahead for them?

Andrew was recently cited in the House of Lords European Committee’s report on the impact of Brexit on Gibraltar.

Brexit areas of expertise

  • How Gibraltarian identity has developed over the 20th century; freedom of movement and communications pre-World War II, the legacy of mixed marriages, the Spanish Civil War and Franco’s rule.
  • Is dual sovereignty between Gibraltar and Spain a likely possibility?
  • The shift towards a Gibraltarian British identity in a European context.
  • What now for Gibraltar?

Legal experts

Professor Steve Peers
Professor Steve Peers
Twitter: @StevePeers
Telephone: 07818 641960

Professor Steve Peers is an expert in EU law with extensive national and international broadcast and print media experience.

His research interests include EU constitutional and administrative law, including human rights; justice and home affairs law; external relations law; employment law; internal market law, and particularly the free movement of EU citizens.

He has worked as a consultant for the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union and the Council of Europe. Professor Peers is editor of, and a regular writer for the EU Law Analysis blog.

Brexit areas of expertise

  • EU law.
  • EU immigration and asylum policy.
  • EU administration.
  • EU policing and criminal law.
  • EU law and human rights.
  • EU trade law.
  • EU employment and discrimination law.
Professor Chris Willett
Professor Chris Willett
Telephone: via Comms office 01206 872400

Professor Chris Willett has 25 years’ experience of teaching, researching, publishing and advising in the areas of UK, EU and global consumer and contract law; commercial law; sales law; food law; digital content law; financial services law; and unfair terms and practices law.

His current research focuses on major legislative reform of UK consumer law; reform of UK and EU financial services law; the values and ethics of UK and EU consumer law; and global regulation of light pollution.

Brexit areas of expertise

  • EU consumer rights laws on issues such as poor quality and unsafe goods, unfair and small print contract terms, aggressive and misleading sales and advertising, and holidays and flights.
  • How EU consumer rights laws have improved the position of UK consumers.
Dr Yseult Marique
Dr Yseult Marique
Telephone: via Comms office 01206 872400

Dr Yseult Marique has ten years’ experience researching and publishing in the areas of public and administrative law, including public contracts, public procurement, public audit, state organisation, federalisation, and corruption. Her research looks at the legal interactions between the EU level and member states, especially the UK, France and Belgium.

Her current research focuses on the development of a European legal culture, that can be incrementally built based on Member States’ own legal, constitutional and administrative identities and on the ways in which that European legal culture encapsulates values on how citizens’ welfare needs to be provided.

Dr Marique can give interviews in French and Dutch.

Brexit areas of expertise

  • Pluralism, diversity and competition in the provision of public services.
  • Subsidiarity between EU level and state level, and between public bodies and (non) economic actors.
  • Relationships between public authorities and the market within a European economic constitution.

Historians

Professor Rainer Schulze
Professor Rainer Schulze
Telephone: via Comms office 01206 872400

Professor Rainer Schulze is an expert in the history of the Holocaust and Holocaust memory, but he is equally interested in the history of European integration and the way the 'European idea' has slowly emerged from the ruins of European civilisation left behind by the Nazis. He has developed and taught for many years a very popular first-year undergraduate module on this topic – From Disunity to Unity? An Introduction to the History of Europe in the 20th Century.

Professor Schulze was born and raised in Germany and so brings a different perspective to the discussions within the UK around EU membership. From 2011-2013, he was the Director of the Human Rights Centre at Essex.

Brexit areas of expertise

  • The history of European integration.
  • The role of Germany within the European Economic Community/European Community/European Union.
  • The European Union and democratic values, civil liberties and human rights.