British and Irish Politics and Policy

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    Two troubled premierships: comparing the administrations of John Major and Theresa May

Two troubled premierships: comparing the administrations of John Major and Theresa May

Looking at how they came to power, their subsequent electoral fortunes, their Cabinet divisions, and their attitudes towards the EU, Ben Williams identifies key similarities between the Major and May governments.

The Conservative administrations of John Major (1990-97) and Theresa May (2016-19) are two decades apart, yet incorporate similar overlapping themes and issues which interlink them. Indeed, it can be […]

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    ‘Speaking truth to power’ in Select Committees: what is the experience like for external evidence-givers?

‘Speaking truth to power’ in Select Committees: what is the experience like for external evidence-givers?

In recent years there has been increasing interest in how the evidence-gathering process works in Parliament, especially with Select Committees. A particular focus has been on how representative of different groups in British society are those submitting evidence. However, there has been little or no investigation of what the experience of giving evidence is like for witnesses – and […]

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    The forward march of party members: has the shift in power to the grassroots gone too far?

The forward march of party members: has the shift in power to the grassroots gone too far?

Patrick Seyd writes that while parliamentarians are in a much better position to decide who should lead the party than party members, in recent years the balance has shifted in favour of the latter. This plebiscitary politics negatively affects both the quality of political leadership and of decision-making.

Britain’s decision to exit the European Union has placed its two-party […]

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    Abortion law reform in Northern Ireland: celebrations and cautions

Abortion law reform in Northern Ireland: celebrations and cautions

Fran Amery offers an overview of the recent amendment to liberalise abortion law in Northern Ireland and explains why, despite there still being ways that change could be blocked, the development shows the strength of feeling about this issue in Parliament.

On 9 July, an amendment was successfully attached to the government’s Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill requiring the government […]

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    The accidental populists: why May and Corbyn ended up being isolated and unpopular

The accidental populists: why May and Corbyn ended up being isolated and unpopular

The fact that Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn are now less popular than Nigel Farage is in large part the result of their attempt to lead the heterogeneous movements they inherited, writes Ben Margulies.

The Conservative and Labour parties are seeing an alarming fall in support. Thanks to the prolonged denouement of the Brexit crisis, both parties have bled up […]

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    British social democracy in the 1970s: the Labour ‘right’ and the origins of the SDP

British social democracy in the 1970s: the Labour ‘right’ and the origins of the SDP

Stephen Meredith writes that while the SDP was marked by ideological inconsistencies, the role of ideas in its formation should not be overlooked. He explains how the wider political fragmentation of the Labour ‘right’ in the late 1970s led to the fracture of the party and the rupture of British social democracy.

Former Labour MP and academic, David Marquand, famously […]

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    The future of UK services trade is unlikely to be bright, whatever form Brexit takes

The future of UK services trade is unlikely to be bright, whatever form Brexit takes

When it comes to trade in services, leaving the Single Market will result in increased regulatory costs and could have significant effects on the volume and composition of UK services exports, writes Olga Pindyuk.

In the Brexit debate, trade in services has been largely overlooked in favour of trade in goods. This is despite the UK being the second biggest […]

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    Staying power? Jeremy Hunt’s record as Health and Social Care Secretary

Staying power? Jeremy Hunt’s record as Health and Social Care Secretary

Tony Hockley offers an overview of Jeremy Hunt’s term as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care (2012-2018), and concludes that his record makes it hard to describe Hunt as someone who shirks from a challenge.

There are good reasons why no previous health minister has stayed in the job as long as Jeremy Hunt. In no area of […]