Leading political commentators in Coventry for EU debate

Business news

Thursday 09 June 2016

Press contact

Press Team

As the country gears up for the forthcoming EU referendum, top political commentators are coming to Coventry next week to take part in what is sure to be a lively debate on the subject currently dominating the news agenda.

The referendum and its wide reaching implications will be discussed at special event, taking place from 12pm to 1.30pm on Tuesday 14 June at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum.

Hosted by Coventry University’s Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, the lunchtime debate, entitled ‘The EU Referendum – what’s going on and why?’ is free to attend and is part of Coventry University’s popular Big Question seminar series,  which provide a public forum for discussion of the big political, social and economic topics of the day.

Chaired by author, journalist and social commentator Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, the debate will, as its title suggests, explore the background to the referendum, how it has come about and what the implications are for Britain and Europe once the votes have been cast.

Yasmin will be joined on the panel by political analysts and academics Matt Qvortrup and Pauline Schnapper from Coventry University and the University of Paris Sorbonne Nouvelle respectively, alongside Labour peer, journalist and public policy expert Lord David Lipsey.

Speaking ahead of the debate next week, Coventry University’s Professor Matt Qvortrup, said:


The arguments around Britain’s future in the EU are intensifying as the vote on which way we go fast approaches, so the debate is timely to say the least. The consequences for the personalities and parties involved, and of course for our country as a whole, could be hugely significant. We’ll be discussing these issues in detail in what I am sure will be an informative and exciting event.”



‘The EU Referendum – what’s going on and why?’ is free to attend and places can be booked by contacting Charlotte Martin at Coventry University’s Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations via email: charlotte.martin@coventry.ac.uk 




For further information, contact Jeanette Lunt, external press and media relations officer, Coventry University, on +44 (0)24 7765 5050 or email jeanette.lunt@coventry.ac.uk.


About The Big Question Series

The Big Question seminar series creates a vibrant public space to discuss the unprecedented economic, political and social challenges in contemporary British society.  It provides an opportunity for innovative and timely thinking and debate with leading figures from across government, the media, research, business and society as well as the general public and members of Coventry’s research community and student body. 

About the panel members at ‘The EU Referendum – what’s going on and why?’

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (Panel Chair)

Yasmin is a journalist who has written for The Guardian, Observer, The New York Times, Time Magazine, Newsweek, The Evening Standard, the Mail and was a regular columnist on The Independent for 18 years. 

Her books, such as Who Do We Think We Are? and After Multiculturalism have examined the state of the British nation and our globalised future. In 2001 she was appointed an MBE for services to journalism in the New Year’s honours list, a medal she returned in 2003 as a protest against the illegal war in Iraq. She frequently appears on BBC’s Any Questions and Question Time and Channel4 News.

Lord David Lipsey

Lord Lipsey was adviser on polling to Prime Minister James Callaghan from 1977-79 and has commissioned and written on polls for newspapers including the Sunday Times and the Economist. He is on the board of the fact-checking charity Full Fact. He is a visiting parliamentary fellow at St Anthony’s Oxford, and has been a visiting fellow at LSE and Harvard and an honorary professor at the Universities of Ulster and Salford.

 Professor Pauline Schnapper

Pauline Schnapper is Professor of British politics at the University of Paris Sorbonne Nouvelle and author of several books, including Britain and the Crisis in the European Union, which she co-authored with David Baker.

Professor Matt Qvortrup

Matt Qvortrup is Professor of Political Science at Coventry University. Described by the Financial Times as “one of the world’s foremost experts on direct democracy”, he has written several books about referendums. Professor Qvortrup has been an advisor to the US State Department and an envoy for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the Sudan. He is a regular commentator for BBC.