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Professor Pete Dorey

Professor of British Politics

School of Law and Politics

+44(0)29 2087 4925


As Professor of British Politics, my research interests focus on several aspects of British Politics, and public policy, in the period from 1945 to the present day.To date, I have written, co-authored or edited 15 books on aspects of British politics or public policy, one of which (on British Conservatism and the Politics of Inequality) won a Political Studies Association prize in 2011. I have published more than 40 journal articles and more than 45 chapters in edited books.

I have also: presented conference papers in New York, Paris, Prague and Reykjavik; addressed/chaired a staff-training seminar at the former Civil Service College; presented a Guest Lecture (on changes in policy-making) to staff from the Cabinet Office; submitted written evidence (on declining electoral turnout and political disengagement) to a parliamentary select committee; been interviewed on general elections, and the 2016 EU referendum, by the BBC, and media in Chile, China, Germany, Hungary and Portugal. 

In Spring 2014, I was Visiting Professor of Politics at the University of Bordeaux.

I have served as External Examiner at Birmingham University, Lancaster University, Leeds University, and Lincoln University.

I have particular research interests in British political parties, the role of ideas and ideology in British politics, the social background and characteristics of MPs and peers, electoral trends, parliamentary reform, the decline of trade unions, the politics/reform of the welfare state, and changes in the policy process since the 1980s.

I would warmly welcome PhD applications in any of these areas.      


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

Speaking engagements

  • 2016 Conference, 'Socialism, Socialists and the State in Western Europe since 1945', Institute of Political Science, Paris.  
  • 2015 (Guest Speaker) 'Explaining the Election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Party Leader', Southampton University.
  • 2014: (Key Note) Two-day conference on 'The Legacy of Thatcherism', University of Clermont-Ferrand, France.
  • 2014: (Guest Speaker) Bath Labour Party’s AGM -  ‘Why are voters revolting? Explaining voter disengagement and the rise of UKIP’
  • 2013: (Guest Speaker) 'Changes in the Policy Process since 1980’, The Cabinet Office.
  • 2011: (Guest Speaker) 'The Core Executive under the Coalition Government', Lancaster University 
  • 2011; Conference, 'The Future of the Welfare State under Austerity', Reykjavik University.
  • 2010 Conference, 'The Future of Conservatism', Prague University.
  • 2008 (Guest Speaker/seminar chair), 'Policy-Making', Summer school for senior civil servants at the civil service college, Berkshire.























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 ‘Models of Power’, and Politics and Policies of the European Union, on which I teach a section on ‘Britain and the EU’. 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'.

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 Association’s ‘Conservatives and Conservatism’ Group’s 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.