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Department of Government
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Director of British Government @ LSE
Email: Tony Travers
|Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7955 7777

General Enquiries
Email: Martin Rogers|
Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7955 6498
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7955 6352

British Government @ LSE Manager
Email: Nicole Boyce|
Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7955 7204

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British Government @ LSE

British Government

British Government@LSE is an initiative currently based in the Government Department to promote and develop research on British Government being conducted at the LSE. So far world class speakers have attended our events, talking on a range of topics. 
Past events are available on the left hand side menu. 

From time to time there are changes to event details so we strongly recommend that if you plan to attend this event you check back on this listing on the day of the event. 

Click Here |to join the mailing list.

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You can get immediate notification on the availability of an event podcast by following LSE public lectures and events on Twitter, which will also inform you about the posting of transcripts and videos, the announcement of new events and other important event updates.

British Government @ LSE General Election 2015 Event Series

General Election 2015: key challenges facing the parties

The British general election of 2015 takes place against a remarkable backdrop of political and economic uncertainty. The country’s major parties are far less dominant than they once were. Insurgency can be seen in Scotland and parts of rural England, reducing the predictability of the outcome in many constituencies. The Scottish Nationalists, UKIP and the Greens are all building support. Constitutional reform will be offered, competitively, in party manifestos. The economy is growing strongly but problems remain, notably the weakness of tax receipts. Deficit reduction means public spending will be constrained throughout the next Parliament, raising major questions about Britain’s on-going defence and foreign policy capacity. In domestic policy, the quality of public services and growing inequality have to be tackled. It is also possible the election result will trigger an ‘in-out’ referendum on whether or not the UK should leave the European Union.

British Government @ LSE, working with departments and institutes across the School, is running a series of panels about the election, taking place between January and April. In each of these events, LSE academics will outline the key challenges facing the country and consider a range of possible responses. The panels and speakers are summarised below.

At each panel, there will be opening contributions from the speakers, followed by an open discussion involving members of the audience. In common with other LSE events, these election debates will be open to the public.

Past events are available here| 

Housing (Co-badged with LSE London|)

Date: Wednesday 4 March
Time: 18:30 - 20:00
Venue: CLM.4.02 Map|
Speakers: Charles Goodhart, Nancy Holman, Ann Power, Christine Whitehead
Chair: Kate Allen, Financial Times


Housing presents a range of challenges for whichever party wins the next election. Everyone agrees there is a shortage of homes (to rent or to buy) as well as an affordability crisis in many parts of the country, and yet housing completions are at historically low levels. Experts have listed a number of reasons for the lack of new investment including the planning process, the lack of available land, a shortage of finance, restrictions on building on the Green Belt, the influence of overseas buyers, and indeed cutbacks in government grant. Additionally, increasing regulation is making it harder for households who would traditionally have been able to become owner-occupiers to do so. Increasing numbers of families—especially in London—are paying high rents for poor quality and insecure accommodation. Consequently, policies to increase investment and standards in the private rented sector are under discussion, as are ways to improve access to mortgage funding and low cost homeownership.But housing is also a macro-economic issue – housing costs affect competitiveness; over-emphasis on housing investment might limit more productive sectors; and mortgage debt is seen as a source of macro instability. This event will examine the key challenges facing the parties as they struggle to create more homes, to give households better choices, and to reduce volatility in the housing market and the economy as a whole.




Date: Wednesday 11 March
Time: 18:30 - 20:00
Venue: CLM.2.02 Map|
Speakers: Damian Chalmers, Maurice Fraser, Simon Hix, Sara Hobolt, Michiel Van Hulten
Chair: Professor Tony Travers


The 2015 election could lead to an ‘In-Out’ referendum by 2017. The UK might, therefore leave the EU before the following election, with profound effects on the country and its trading partners. There would also be knock-on consequences for the future of Scotland within the UK. UKIP’s performance in the general election will also tell us something about the strength of sentiment about immigration policy in the UK. Whether or not there is a referendum, Britain’s troubled relationship with Europe looks likely to remain difficult for some years to come. This panel will look at the many and varied challenges facing Britain and its relationship with Europe between 2015 and 2020.



How-to-Run-a-Government book cover
Michael Barber on 'How to Run A Government: so that citizens benefit and taxpayers don't go crazy'

Date: Monday 16 March
Time: 18:30 - 20:00
Venue: Old Theatre Map|
Speaker: Michael Barber
Chair: Sir Jeremy Heywood

Billions of citizens around the world are frustrated with their governments. Political leaders struggle to honour their promises and officials find it near impossible to translate ideas into action. The result? High taxes, but poor outcomes. Cynicism not just with government but with the political process.

Why is this? How could this vicious spiral be reversed?

In this groundbreaking book Michael Barber draws on his wealth of experience of working for and with government leaders the world over to present a blueprint for how to run a government. Using contemporary cases from every continent and classic examples from history, he makes a compelling case for a new approach. From Downing Street to Punjab, Charles I to Churchill, this books shows that the solution is less about ideology and more about sustained priorities, solving problems as they arise and not giving up when the going gets tough.

By applying the lessons set out in the eight chapters of this entertaining and insightful book, governments of all political persuasions can dramatically enhance their capacity to deliver results and control costs, thus delighting citizens rather than driving them crazy.

Sir Michael Barber is the co-founder of Delivery Associates and Chief Education Advisor at Pearson. Over the last two decades he has worked on government and public service reform in more than 50 countries. From 2001 to 2005 he was the first Head of the Prime Minister's Delivery Unit in the UK. His previous books include Instruction to Deliver: Fighting to Transform Britain's Public Services.



Nationalism after the Nation State. Scotland in Comparative

Conflict Research Group| and British Government @ LSE Lunchtime Talk:

Date: Tuesday 17 March
Time: 13:00 - 14:00
Venue: CLM.7.02
Speaker: Professor Michael Keating
Chair: Professor Tony Travers

The Economy

Date: Wednesday 18 March
Time: 18:30 - 20:00
Venue: CLM.4.02 Map|
Speakers: Alan Manning, Jonathan Wadsworth, John Van Reenen
Chair: Oriana Bandiara


The Conservatives and Labour have marked out apparently different positions for themselves in relation to the economy and deficit reduction. The Conservatives want to eradicate the deficit and then run a budget surplus, while Labour want to deliver a slower reduction to the deficit, but with less pressure on public expenditure. The longer-term strength of the UK economy is still unknown, particularly in the light of continuing uncertainty affecting the Eurozone, financial institutions and oil prices. The options facing the new government are limited by the continuing weakness of the public finances. This event will examine the future of the UK economy and possible policy change.



The-Coalition-Effect book cover
Book Launch: The Coalition Effect

Date: Wednesday 25 March
Time: 18:30 - 20:00
Venue: CLM.4.02
Speakers: Anthony Seldon, Michael Finn, Rosie Campbell
Chair: Tony Travers


The British General Election of May 2010 delivered the first coalition government since the Second World War. David Cameron and Nick Clegg pledged a 'new politics' with the government taking office in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the 1930s. Five years on, a team of experts drawn from academia, the media, Parliament, Whitehall and think tanks assesses this 'coalition effect' across a broad range of policy areas. Adopting the contemporary history approach, this pioneering book addresses academic and policy debates across this whole range of issues. Did the coalition represent the natural 'next step' in party dealignment and the evolution of multi-party politics? Was coalition in practice a historic innovation in itself, or did the essential principles of Britain's uncodified constitution remain untroubled? Fundamentally, was the coalition able to deliver on its promises made in the coalition agreement, and what were the consequences - for the country and the parties - of this union?



Sir Anthony Seldon is a leading contemporary historian and political commentator, and the 13th Master of Wellington College. A Fellow of King's College London, he is an expert on political leadership and has authored or edited over 35 books on contemporary history and politics.

Dr Mike Finn is Director of the Centre for Education Policy and Lecturer in the History of Education at Liverpool Hope University. He has taught history and politics extensively in universities, including as a Research Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford and as a Bye-Fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge. In 2006 he was Head of Research and political speechwriter to the Leader of the Liberal Democrats during the transition from Charles Kennedy to Ming Campbell.

Dr Rosie Campbell is a Reader in Politics at Birkbeck University of London. Rosie has research interests in British politics; particularly political representation, political careers, political participation, and women and politics. She is the principle investigator of the ESRC funded Representative Audit of Britain, which will survey all candidates standing in the 2015 British General Election, and co-investigator of a Leverhulme funded study of parliamentary candidates and MPs from 1945-2015 www.parliamentarycandidates.org|


Tim Bale photo
Book Launch: Tim Bale - Five Year Mission

Date: Monday 20 April
Time: 18:30 - 20:00
Venue: TBC
Speaker: Professor Tim Bale
Chair: TBC

In May 2010, Labour suffered one of its worst ever election defeats. A few months later it chose Ed Miliband as its new leader. His task? To win back power after just one term in opposition - a tall order given how many voters had come to blame Labour for the economic mess the country was in, and to see the party as a soft-touch when it came to immigration and welfare.

Even those who were more sympathetic had their doubts. Was Ed Miliband really leadership material? Would he be able to overcome defeating his elder brother to get to the top? Would he have to do as he was told by the trade union leaders who had helped him win? Could he resolve the tensions between Blairites and Brownites, Blue Labour and New Labour? Might his desire to keep his colleagues united mean Labour stayed stuck in its comfort zone? Would he, in seeking to break from the party's recent past, take it too far to the left? Could he offer the electorate something really radical in 2015 or would he instead choose something safer but ultimately less inspiring? And what should twenty-first social democracy look like now that the money had run out?

This book, by one of the country's foremost experts on party politics, seeks to answer all those questions and, in the run up to the 2015 general election, to ask one more: will Ed Miliband's five year mission turn out to be 'mission impossible'?




Research Seminars

We recently ran a new Research Seminar programme where LSE academics discussed their work in their area of British Government. 

This series of events is now over but we hope to begin again soon.

All past seminars are available here.| 

Tony Travers

GV311: British Government|

The British Government course (GV311) is a new Undergraduate Course with open public access.

Members of the public are welcome to attend any or all of the weekly lectures or to follow the course online. The whole event and seminar package will appear online after they have been edited and upload.



Why British Government@LSE?

The LSE has always been closely involved in the study, advice and development of British Government with many of our students moving into careers in civil and public service as well as politics, and many of our most notable Professors have contributed to the understanding and development of British Government and politics.

GV311: British Government|
Election Experts Blog