‘The expansion and contraction of the English state’ examines how changes in the scope of British authority have affected constitutional principle. Nominally, all components of the empire were subordinate to illimitable parliamentary sovereignty, but in reality many informal relations and constraints existed. The EU posed another challenge to parliamentary sovereignty, as EU law supersedes British law, and the hyper-rationalism of the EU constitution runs contrary to British constitutional practice. Devolution is an attempt to bolster constitutional arrangements in the other components of the UK, but does not formally affect parliamentary sovereignty. Modern concepts like state, citizen and nation clash with the monarchical conception of authority in the constitution.