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Category: British Politics

A free vote: This May be the lifeline Theresa needs

Written by Thomas Eason

Political turmoil has become something of a feature in British politics since the Brexit referendum. Time and time again Prime Minister Theresa May has faced down calls for her resignation and speculation about her suitability for office. Yesterday, the Prime Minister presented her draft Brexit deal to Parliament, creating a major political backlash that appears to present her greatest leadership challenge yet. After a gruelling few hours answering questions in Parliament about the Brexit deal, it’s clear she is unlikely to get her way in the Commons. In this chaotic context, there has been speculation over whether May will give her MPs a free vote – a vote in which MPs are allowed to vote without instruction from party managers. In this blog I explore how a free vote could impact May’s future as PM and argue that it might just be a much needed lifeline for the Prime Minister.

Corbyn’s critics must go back to their social democratic roots

Written by Steven Fielding. 

It is a year since Jeremy Corbyn unexpectedly denied Theresa May a Commons majority. According to his supporters the 2017 general election vindicates Corbyn’s leadership: had the campaign been longer, they argue, he would have ended up prime minister. Whatever its merits, Labour members have taken this interpretation to heart and given those closely identifying with Corbyn a majority on the party’s national executive committee. As Labour prepares for its ‘democracy review’ this body has the power to entrench Corbynism for a generation.

All this has left shell shocked those unconvinced by Labour’s new management. Immediately after the election, one they predicted would be disastrous for the party, most were struck dumb. But recently some have expressed concern over Corbyn’s response to the Salisbury attack, anti-semitism and Brexit. Such random acts of criticism have however not diminished the Labour leader’s support: in fact the more he is attacked the more Momentum’s membership increases.

Does Brexit really realise the ideals of JS Mill?

Written by Helen McCabe.

Boris Johnson’s Valentine’s-day speech intended to make a ‘positive’ case for exiting the European Union.  It was not exactly a love-letter to the EU and ‘Remainers’.  Rather it was an oratorical bouquet, intended to persuade lovelorn anti-Leavers to end their attempts to ‘frustrate the will of the people’.

Populist and Extreme Parties: To Ban or Not To Ban?

Written by Fernando Casal Bértoa and Angela Bourne.

Extreme, populist and anti-systemic parties are on the rise! Only this year elections in the Netherlands and Bulgaria and Germany returned excellent results for radical right parties (e.g. Party of FreedomAlternative for Germanyor Ataka). Even in usually quiet Liechtenstein The Independents (DU), a right-wing populist party, managed to obtain more than 18 percent of the votes. In France, Marine Le Pen came second in the presidential elections. Last Sunday the Freedom Party of Austria got more than 20 percent of the vote, and in countries like Greece or Slovakia support for neo-Nazi parties (i.e. Golden Dawn or People’s Party Our Slovakia) reach a notable 7 percent of the electorate.

Labour in Brighton: it’s not a cult, it’s too big for that now

Written by Tim Bale .

If you’ve ever been to a party conference – maybe any conference actually – you’ll have experienced that disconcerting feeling you get when you walk out of the building it’s being held in and re-enter the real world.

Lessons from history for Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘government in waiting’

Written by Steven Fielding.

History, as Henry Ford once claimed, is bunk: and that is what many Jeremy Corbyn supporters now believe. Prior to the 2017 election, Corbynites were told by supposed experts like myself that, as Tony Blair had it, when a traditional left-wing party competes with a traditional right-wing party the traditional result will follow: defeat for the left.

Our Friends in the North: Nicky as Jeremy Corbyn

Written by Steven Fielding.

When Peter Flannery’s Our Friends in the North was broadcast in 1996 TV critics fell over themselves to praise the series. Tracing the lives of four young working-class characters from 1964 to 1995 the nine-part series aspired to say something significant about the politics of those times and explain the sad state of mid-90s Britain. Subsequently showered with awards Our Friends in the North remains one of the most highly regarded of television dramas.

Issue priorities, costs and social concerns in Brexit negotiations

Written by Carolina Plescia & Magdalena Staniek.

As the UK negotiates the terms of its departure from the EU, every day its citizens receive an onslaught of claims and counterclaims about the many aspects of the Brexit “deal.” Given the complexity of Brexit negotiations and the heated debate surrounding them, how do citizens decide about what issues are important for them and for the country as a whole? What influences their opinions on Brexit and where do their preferences come from? In our study, we focus on the combination of the three key aspects of Brexit negotiations – issue priorities, material and social considerations – as well as the role that parties play in the formation of preferences about “the best Brexit deal for Britain”.

Has Wales got it right (once again)?

Written by Siim Trumm.

Wales Act 2014 re-instated the right of candidates to stand simultaneously as a constituency candidate and a regional list candidate for elections to the National Assembly for Wales. This seems to have paid off. Not only were dual candidates’ campaign efforts more intense and complex than those of their PR-only and SMD-only counterparts in the run up to the 2016 devolved election, but they were also the most balanced ones in their focus. Dual candidacy may have had to wait thirteen years to return to Wales, but there are reasons to hope it stays.