I joined the Department of Politics in September 2013 after completing my PhD in the Centre for Legislative Studies at the University of Hull with an ESRC Scholarship. I have previously worked for a Member of Parliament, for the Smith Institute and for the Labour Party. I am currently Managing Editor of the Political Studies Association's blog.
My research focuses on the UK Parliament, particularly the legislative process, committees, political parties and public engagement within Parliament. My wider research interests are in legislative studies, British politics and constitutional reform. I have published widely on the impact of parliament on government legislation and continue to research in this area. Projects which I am currently working on include:
• Parliament's public reading stage pilot• The SNP in the 2015 and 2017 Parliaments• Small parties in the House of Commons
I am also interested in pedagogical research and I have published work on the use of parliamentary sources in teaching. I am co-author of a series of guides for lecturers and students published by the Higher Education Academy, including a guide to referencing parliamentary material and a portfolio of teaching case studies. I am the editor of the textbook Exploring Parliament (with Professor Cristina Leston Bandeira, University of Leeds).
I am the Co-Convenor of the PSA's Parliaments and Legislatures Specialist Group, a member of the Study of Parliament Group and a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Legislative Studies.
In 2016-17 I will be teaching the following modules:
- Debates in British Politics (Level 4)
- Public Policy: Theory and Practice (Level 5)
- Electoral Systems and Voting Behaviour (Level 5)
- Perspectives on the UK Parliament (Level 6)
- Dissertation Module (Level 6)
I have previously taught modules in British Government, Electoral and Voting Systems, European Politics, Social Policy and Political Thinkers.
Co-Convenor, PSA Parliaments and Legislatures Specialist Group
Member, Study of Parliament Group
Editorial Board Member, Journal of Legislative Studies
Other Published Work
- Letting the Public in on The Act: A report of the public reading stage of the Children and Families Bill, with Professor Cristina Leston Bandeira and Will Mace (online here)
- The Referendum Bubble: What can we learn from EU campaign polling?', in D Jackson, E Thorsen and D Wring (eds), EU Referendum Analysis 2016: Media, Voters and the Campaign: Early Reflections from leading UK academics, June 2016. (online here)
- Parliament as a Teaching Resource: A Guide for Lecturers and Teaching Staff, June 2013 (with Dr Cristina Leston-Bandeira), Higher Education Academy/UK Parliament
- Using Parliamentary Resurces in Teaching: A Case Study Portfolio, June 2013 (with Dr Cristina Leston-Bandeira, Higher Education Academy/UK Parliament
- Referencing Parliamentary Material: A Guide for Lecturers and Students, June 2013
- Using Parliamentary Websites as an Engagement Tool , May 2013 (with Dr Cristina Leston-Bandeira).
- Organising and Managing Parliamentary Websites: A Guide for Parliaments, May 2013, (with Dr Cristina Leston-Bandeira)
I regularly write short blogs for the The Conversation, Democatic Audit, the LSE British Politics & Policy and the Political Studies Association Blog. A few selected pieces are listed below.
- 'The Brexit Bill has hit Parliament. Here's what to expect', The Independent, 27 January 2017.
- 'Weak Government, Strong Parliament? A Preview of Theresa May's Legislative Challenges', LSE British Politics & Policy Blog, 20 June 2017.
- 'The New Opposition: How will SNP MPs influence Westminster Politics', The Constitution Unit, 1 June 2015.
House of Commons Procedure Committee inquiry into the new English Votes for English Laws (EVEL) procedures (EVL 01)
'The challenges of utilising UK parliamentary texts in research', Negotiated Texts Network Seminar, Pembroke College, University of Oxford, 29 June 2017. (summary here)
• 'Committee Scrutiny', Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, 65th Westminster Seminar, December 2016.
'The Legislative Process: Amending Legislation', Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Annual Conference (1 December 2015)
Debating the Constitution after the General Election, UK Constitutional Law Association (24 June 2015)
The Scrutiny of Government Bills, Seminar for the Study of Parliament Group, House of Commons, 23 July 2013.
Undergraduate Programme Director (2015 - present)
Deputy Chair, University Ethics Committee
Member, Faculty Ethics Committee
the contemporary nature of debate in the British House of Commons and to increase
opportunities for the participation of backbench MPs. Though experimental in the first
instance, these debates have since become an entrenched feature of parliamentary life.
This note seeks to assess the impact of topical debates on a legislature which has long
been characterised by the strength of its plenary sessions. Analysis of the topical
debates held during the 2007?08 parliamentary session demonstrates that topic selection
has indeed been broad, examining issues of both national and constituency concerns.
Whilst there has been no extraordinary change in the House, the use of topical debates
by backbench opposition MPs in particular is significant and has the potential to add considerable
value to the House of Commons as an arena legislature.
The section created inherent problems when it came to implementation. In part, these were practical. However, the most substantial problem derived from competing ideologies. There were also problems in carrying out changes not envisaged in the agreement. Governments have mandates that are permissive and not just prescriptive. The Coalition had to deal with the unplanned. Among the changes not included in the agreement was press regulation and strengthening Parliament in waging war. There were also two issues that were essentially designed to be sidelined through the use of commissions ? one on English votes for English laws and the other on a British Bill of Rights. However, the referendum in Scotland in 2014 gave fresh impetus to the former and pressure from Conservative MPs, responding to some judgments from the European Court of Human Rights, reawakened demands for the latter.
British House of Commons. The recent introduction of oral evidence sessions as a
standard bill committee procedure has further underlined their importance.1 Yet
despite their prominence in parliamentary life, bill committees have been somewhat
under-studied. A comparison of bill committee activity in the first decade
of the twenty-first century with the last comprehensive examination undertaken
in 1974 shows that significant changes have taken place; bill committees appear
to be working harder than ever before but this is not reflected in terms of the relative
impact they are making on government legislation.
courses and a valuable means of promoting the development of students? research
and analytical skills; particularly taking into account the research habits of the modern
student population. Through a series of focus groups with politics students and a national
survey of politics lecturers, the perceptions and current use of the UK Parliament website
in teaching are analysed. It was found that a considerable number of lecturers are making
use of the website for teaching purposes, though this is usually at a very basic and often
superficial level. Barriers to the use of parliamentary resources include a lack of awareness
of the types and variety of parliamentary material, difficulties in finding appropriate
material on the Parliament website and a lack of understanding on the part of lecturers as
to how to use this material effectively in lectures and seminars