What is sovereignty?

Sovereignty is a concept that can be traced to the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, which put an end to the 100 year-religious European wars. The concept was designed to allow each nation in Europe to declare their political self-determination and ensure their right to freedom of religion. Over the last 300 years, the concept has come to symbolise struggles against tyranny, colonialism and efforts to defeat aggressive states. The contemporary use of the word emphases a nation-state's right to self-governance, independence and self-determination. In the UK, sovereignty is invested in Parliament and legitimated by elections. Parliament exercises absolute political power over legislative decision making, making it the centre of power within UK politics.

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