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Peter Dorey

Professor Peter Dorey

Professor of British Politics

School of Law and Politics

Available for postgraduate supervision


As Professor of British Politics, I have particular research interests in Britain's main political parties (espcially their changing ideologies, electoral performance, leadership selection procedures, and the socio-economic backgrounds of their MPs), the British 'party system', trends in voting behaviour and the determinants of electoral choice, the functioning and reform of Parliament, and changes in the 'policy process' (the way that policies are developed and implemented, and by who) since the 1980s.

Since 2010, I have authored or co-authored: 11 books (including 5 since 2019), one of which, British Conservatism: The Philosophy and Politics of Inequality, was awarded a Political Studies Association (PSA) prize; 31 journal articles; 26 chapters in edited books.

I have also presented a Guest Lecture (on changes in policy-making) to staff from the Cabinet Office; submitted written evidence to two parliamentary select committee inquiriues (one on declining electoral turnout and political disengagement, and the other on House of Lords reform; changes to appointment and membership); been interviewed on topics such as general elections, Conservative Party leadership, the 2016 EU referendum, and developments pertaining to Brexit, by the BBC, and media in Austria, Chile, China, Germany, Hungary, Portugal and Russia.

In 2019, I was invited by The Independent to write an Op-Ed on the Conservative Party and Brexit, and also invited to write an article (about the Conservative Party) for the Fabian Society's journal The Fabian Review

In Spring 2014, I was Visiting Professor of Politics at the University of Bordeaux, and in Spring 2019, Visiting Professor of Politics at Charles University, Prague.

In 2017, I presented a guest Lecture at the Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris), and was invited to be a keynote speaker at a conference on Brexit, held at the University of Lyon in autumn 2021. 

Since 2010, I have served as External Examiner at Birmingham University, Hull University (current), Lancaster University, Leeds University, Lincoln University, and Sussex University. I am currently External Examiner at Hull University, and York St. John University .

Since 2015, I have been External Examiner for PhD Vivas at Birmingham University (twice), Hull University (twice), Goldsmith's College (London), Leeds University (twice), and Liverpool University. 

I would very much welcome applications from prospective PhD students on any aspect of contemporary British politics or public policy, but especially on party politics, voting patterns, parliamentary reform, Brexit, and aspects of policy-making or case-studies of particular policies.


























Book sections






My research interests are in two specific areas. Firstly, trends in British politics since 1945 to the present day, particularly with regard to the changing nature and dynamics of party politics in terms both of electoral performance, and both intra-party and inter-party ideological debates, discourses, orientations and (re)positioning. Here, I am especially interested in the contemporary history, philosophy and politics of the Conservative Party, but I am similarly interested I in the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats. Related to these research interests is an interest in electoral politics and voting behaviour in Britain since 1970.

My second main area of research is in aspects of contemporary public policy in Britain, both with regard to the processes of policy-making, and the manner in which various policies have developed up until the present day. I am particularly interested in the intellectual or ideological justifications offered when policies are enacted or reformed , and also in the factors which have influenced the degree of success (or failure) which specific public policies have experienced during implementation.

In 2011, I published three books, one sole-authored, and two co-authored. The first was a monograph entitled British Conservatism: The Politics and Philosophy of Inequality,published by I.B.Tauris. This won the Political Studies Associationâs âConservatives and Conservatismâ Groupâs prize for the best book on Conservatism in 2011. The second book, so-authord with Alexandra Kelso (Southampton University) was House of Lords Reform since 1911: Must the Lords Go?, published by Palgrave Macmillan. The third book, also published by Palgrave Macmillan, was From Crisis to Coalition: The Conservative Party, 1997-2010, co-authored with Mark Garnett (Lancaster University) and Andrew Denham (Nottingham University).

I am currently completing a revised, expanded and updated edition of my 2005 text Policy Making in Britain: An Introduction which will be published by Sage in spring 2013.

I will then start work on two more Conservative-related books. The first, to be co-authored with Mark Garnett, will be a study of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition Governement, which wil be published by Palgrave Macmillan. The second will be a monograph entitled The Origins of Thatcherism: The Conservative Party 1974-79.


I was appointed Lecturer in Politics at Cardiff University in 1990, having previously taught at the Universities of Bath, Hull, Manchester and Salford University. I teach two undergraduate Modules which reflect my research interests and expertise, namely British Politics since 1945, and Public Policy in Britain, and contribute towards the 2nd Year Modules Comparative Politics, on which I teach âModels of Powerâ, and Politics and Policies of the European Union, on which I teach a section on âBritain and the EUâ. I also co-teach the post-graduate Module British Governance and Public Policy on the MSc (Econ) Politics and Public Policy. Each year, I supervise several undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations on various aspects of British politics. In addition, I am currently supervising 3 PhD students.

Recent/current PhD topics supervised include: 'New Labour and welfare reform' and 'The 1977-78 "pact" between the Labour Government and the Liberal Party'.


Career profile

Having studied Politics at the Universities of Sussex, Leeds and Hull, I then taught the subject at the Universities of Bath, Hull, Manchester and Salford before becoming a Lecturer in Politics at Cardiff University in 1990. I was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2002, then to Reader in Politics in 2006. and finally to Professor of British Politics in 2012.

Administrative responsibilities

Departmental Level:

  • Admissions Tutor, 1990-2000
  • Co-ordinator of the MSc (Econ) European Governance and Public Policy, 2000- 2005
  • Chair of the Politics Exam Board, 2004-2011
  • Director of Graduate Studies (Masters degrees) 2006-07
  • Chair of the Postgraduate Exam Board, 2006-07
  • Chair of the Politics Board of Studies, 2007-2010
  • Director of Postgraduate Teaching, 2011-2016
  • Chair of the Postgraduate Exam Board, 2011-16
  • Chair of the Politics Exam Board, 2016 - current
  • Departmental Management Board (member) 2016 - current.

University Level

  • Senior Academic (Student Appeals).

Honours and awards

  • Visiting Professor at the University of Bordeaux, Spring 2014.
  • Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales, 2012.
  • Political Studies Association prize - best book on Conservatism, 2011.
  • Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, 2010


Current supervision

Joshua Larcombe

Joshua Larcombe

Graduate Tutor