Past British Government at LSE events


British Government @ LSE Past Events.

The British Government @ LSE programme has seen a number of high profile speakers and debates on campus.

Below are summaries of the events we have had in 2012 with a link to a page dedicated to each theme.

2015 Election Panel / A Life In PoliticsElectionsThe Future Of The UnionHealth of our Institutions TodayHot TopicsParliamentary Select CommitteesResearch SeminarsThe New Coalition Government

 2015 Election Panels

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.

LSE Election ‘Question Time’ event

Date: Thursday 30th April
Time: 1230 to 1400
Venue:Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building
Speakers: Simon Hix, Steve Norris (Conservative), Andrew Adonis (Labour), Nona Buckley-Irvine, Jenny Jones (Green), Sarah Ludford (Lib Dem)



General Election: The Opposition Leaders' Debate - screened live, followed by a panel discussion

Date: Thursday 16 April 2015
Time: 7.45-10.30pm
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building


Full Details

David Lammy on The Freedom of The City: A Vision for London's Future

Date: Tuesday 24 March
Time: 18:30 - 20:00
Speaker: David Lammy MP
Venue: Hong Kong Theatre

David Lammy will discuss the unique opportunities and challenges that exist in London with a focus on how to ensure that all Londoners benefit from the capital's energy and dynamism.

David Lammy has been the Member of Parliament for Tottenham since 2000. He is running to be Labour’s nominee for the 2016 London Mayoral election and authored a book on what he believes to be the causes of the 2011 riots, Out of the Ashes.


The Economy

Date: Wednesday 18 March
Time: 18:30 - 20:00
Venue: CLM.4.02
Speakers: Tim Besley, Alan Manning, John Van Reenen, Jonathan Wadsworth

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.


A lecture by Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland

Date: Monday 16 March 2015
Time: 11-12noon
Speaker: Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) is Scotland’s first female First Minister and the first female to lead any of the devolved UK administrations. Born in Irvine in 1970 and educated at Greenwood Academy, she studied law at the University of Glasgow where she graduated with LLB (Hons) and Diploma in Legal Practice. Before entering the Scottish Parliament as a regional MSP for Glasgow in 1999 she worked as a solicitor in the Drumchapel Law and Money Advice Centre in Glasgow. She is currently MSP for Glasgow Southside having been, before boundary changes, MSP for Govan between 2007 and 2011.



Date: Wednesday 11 March
Time: 18:30 - 20:00
Venue: CLM.2.02
Speakers: Damian Chalmers, Sara Hagemann, Simon Hix, Sara Hobolt, Michiel van Hulten
Chair: Maurice Fraser

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.


Housing (Co-badged with LSE London)

Date: Wednesday 4 March
Time: 18:30 - 20:00
Venue: CLM.4.02
Speakers: Charles Goodhart, Nancy Holman, Anne 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.


Social Policy And Inequality

Date: Wednesday 25 February
Time: 18:30 - 20:00
Venue: CLM.2.02
Speakers: John Hills, Julian Le Grand, Eileen Munro, Tim Newburn
Chair: Tony Travers

The NHS, education, children’s services and social security are among the most politically-salient issues affecting the outcome of the 2015 election. Polling shows the public strongly supports additional funding for health, though it is less enthusiastic about aspects of welfare. Children’s services are now very high-profile and require continuing political and official action to deliver effective care. In parallel, measures of inequality suggest Britain has become a less equal society and that there is political pressure to do something to reduce both income and wealth differentials. Despite protection for the NHS and pensions, budgets for most Welfare State services are under immense pressure. This panel will consider the limited choices for the major parties as the approach the election.


The Future Of London (Co-badged with LSE London)

Date: Thursday 19th February
Time: 18:30 - 20:00
Venue: CLM.3.02
Speakers: Nancy Holman, Christine Whitehead, Tony Travers, Stephen Glaister
Chair: Tim Donovan

As London moves towards becoming a city of 10 million people, it faces immense challenges related to planning, housing, governance and transport. Accommodating this rapid rise in population will require London’s leaders to rethink how and where the city should provide homes for its residents, how people travel into and move around the capital, and how best to plan for this growth to keep London liveable. These questions are already at the forefront of the policy debate, and the 2016 Mayoral candidates will certainly be expected to forward innovative ideas for London’s future. This panel will discuss the viability of some current proposals for tackling these challenges, including changes to S106 processes, strategies for meeting housing targets, outward expansion into the green belt and the need for better cooperation with adjoining local authorities. They will consider how these ideas and challenges may influence London’s future development and explore what this might mean for the Mayoral elections.

Higher education and student funding

Date: Wednesday 18 February
Time: 18:30 - 20:00
Venue: CLM.4.02
Speakers: Nick Barr, Tim Leunig, Nona Buckley-Irvine
Chair: Paul Kelly

The political consequences of the Coalition’s student fees policy have affected the government in a number of ways. Potential change to the funding of universities and students remains highly contentious and subject to reform. Fee levels will be an issue in the 2015 election. Differences in policy between England and Scotland remain contentious. In the longer-term, pressure on ‘unprotected’ public expenditure is likely to reduce HE funding still further, creating greater need for a wider range of university income. The way in which students fund their education, and over what period, has profound impacts. This panel will look at the options facing the parties and those in higher education.


Defence & Foreign policy

Date: Thursday 12 February 2015
Time: 18:30 - 20:00
Venue: CLM 2.02
Speakers: Chris Brown, Michael Cox, Toby Dodge, Margot Light
Chair: Professor Tony Travers

The UK has been involved in a number of international conflicts and peace-keeping efforts in recent years. But pressure on the defence and Foreign Office budgets is likely to change the shape of the armed forces and to affect Britain’s position in the world. Negotiations about a possible coalition government might have implications for the UK’s nuclear deterrent. A Strategic Defence Review is expected in 2015 and this document will outline the longer-term options facing the country. This panel will look at the immense problems facing the next government as it seeks to adjust the scale and shape of defence and foreign policy


The Future of the British Constitution

Date: Wednesday 21 January 2015
Time: 18:30-20:00
Venue: 32L.G.03
Speakers: Simon Hix, Tony Travers, Andrew Blick, Martin Loughlin
Chair: Kate Jenkins

The fallout from the Scottish referendum has been profound for the whole of the UK. The Smith Commission has proposed radical further devolution for Scottish taxes and powers, while there are demands to deliver ‘English votes for English laws’. William Hague, on behalf of the government, has put forward four options for possible reform. Any change to the British ‘constitution’ will be difficult because there is no settled starting-point. This panel will examine options for the future of the British constitution in 2015 and beyond


Past Elections

Date: Tuesday 27 January 2015
Time: 18:30 - 20:00
Venue: NAB.LG.01 Wolfson Theatre
Speakers: Robert Worcester, David Butler, Vernon Bogdanor
Chair: Kate Jenkins

The 2015 general election will be momentous. It is virtually impossible to predict the outcome of such a tightly-run race. Labour and the Conservatives have seen their National vote share decline from 97 per cent to 65 per cent between 1955 and 2010. UKIP, the SNP, the Greens and other incumbent parties are possibly on the rise. This special event brings together a number of Britain’s leading election and constitutional experts to consider what past elections can tell us about the 2015 contest. Which were the great general elections, and who were the great party leaders?


  A Life In Politics

Nigel Lawson
17th October 2012

Ken Livingstone
28th February 2013

Shirley Williams
5th March 2013


This theme covers the referendum on the AV voting system, the success of the left in Europe and Lord reform.

  Future of the Union

Scotland: ‘Independence and Responsibility: the future of Scotland’ - Alex Salmond

Northern Ireland: Martin McGuinness

Wales: Carwyn Jones

England: Lord Heseltine

London: Boris Johnson

  Health of Institutions Today

This theme discusses the state of the various that make up modern day Britain.

Should the Human Rights Act be replaced with a New Bill of Rights?

Will Competition Improve the NHS?

The Civil Service - Gus O'Donnell

Foreign Policy in the UK Courts - Jonathan Sumption

Will elected police Commissioners improve police accountability?

Hot Topics

Margaret Thatcher - Everything She Wants

Date: Wednesday 11 November 2015
Time: 6.30-8pm
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building
Speaker: Charles Moore
Chair: Tony Travers (LSE)

More Details

Immigration In Britain

Date: Thursday 5th November
Speakers: Eric Kaufman (Birkbeck), Alan Manning (LSE), Polly Toynbee (The Guardian), Christine Whitehead (LSE)
Chair: Tony Travers (LSE)
Twitter Hashtag: #LSEImmigration

More Details

Cameron at 10 - the inside story of Cameron's premiership

Date: Wednesday 14 October 2015
Time: 6.30-8pm
Venue:  Old Theatre, Old Building
Speakers: Dr Anthony Seldon, Peter Snowdon
Suggested hashtag: #LSECameron

More Details



Tim Bale - Five Year Mission: the Labour Party Under Ed Miliband

Date: Monday 20 April
Time:18:30 - 20:00
Venue: Wolfson Theatre
Speaker:Professor Tim Bale

Video (Including slides)
MP3 Audio file

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




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
Speaker: Michael Barber
Chair: Sir Jeremy Heywood



The Fourth Revolution: The Global Race To Reinvent The State

Date: Monday 10 November 2014
Time: 6.30-8pm
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building
Speakers: John Micklethwait, Adrian Wooldridge
Chair: Professor Tony Travers


Diane Abbott MP on London: A Tale of Two Cities.
Wednesday 22nd October 2014
Time: 18:30 - 20:00
Venue: CLM 4.02
Speaker: Diane Abbott


Book Launch: The History Manifesto

Date: Wednesday 8th October 2014
Time: 6.30-8pm
Venue: Old Theatre, Old Building
Speakers: Professor David Armitage, Dr Jo Guldi, Professor Simon Szreter
Chair: Professor Paul Kelly


Revolt On The Right

Date: Monday 19th May
Time: 18:30 - 20:00
Venue: Alumni Theatre (NAB.LG.09)
Speaker: Robert Ford


Rebuilding National Parties: A Strategy for Labour in the South and The Tories in the North

Wednesday 30th April
Time: 16:00 - 19:30
Venue: NAB.2.14
Speakers: John Denham, Professor Simon Hix, Peter Kellner, David Skelton, Professor Tony Travers

Photos Timetable

Twitter: #LSEnational

Twitter: #LSEnational

Scotland and England: What Future For The Union?

Date: 1st July
Time: 14:00 - 18:00
Venue: Clement House 3.02
Professor Patrick Dunleavy, LSE
Professor Tony Travers, LSE
Dr Nicola McEwen, University of Edinburgh
Professor Iain McLean, University of Oxford
Dr Matthew Goodwin, University of Nottingham
Professor John Curtice, University of Strathclyde

Chair: Deborah Mattinson, BritainThinks

Full Recording
Full Details


Patrick Dunleavy
Tony Travers
Nicola McEwen
Iain McLean
Matthew Goodwin
John Curtice

The Evolution of electoral studies in Britain

Date: Thursday 20 March 2014
Time: 18:30 - 20:00
Venue: CLM.2.02
Speaker: David Butler

Book Launch: Progressive Capitalism

Date: Thursday 6 March 2014
Time: 18:30 - 20:00
Venue: CLM3.02
Speaker: Lord Sainsbury

Progressive Capitalism: How to achieve economic growth, liberty and social justice with Lord Sainsbury: what role the state should play in supporting UK industry.
Recordings to follow shortly.
Audio  Recordings

These European Elections Matter

Date: Thursday, 23rd January
Time:18:30 - 20:00
Speaker: Nigel Farage

The British Constitution

Date: Wednesday 20th November
Time: 18:30 - 20:00
Venue: NAB.1.04
Speakers: Martin Loughlin and Vernon Bogdanor (Kings)

The Politics Of Representation

Date: Monday, 18th November 2013
Time: 18.30 - 20:00
Venue: Old Theatre, Old Building
Speakers: Tanni Grey-Thompson, Simon Hix, Joni Lovenduski, Anne Phillips
Chair: Elizabeth Chapman

Book Launch: At Power's Elbow

Date: Wednesday 13 November 2013
Time: 18:30 - 19:45
Venue: CLM.2.02
Speakers: Andrew Blick, Bernard Donoughue, George Jones

Audio Recording

Book Launch: In It Together: The Inside Story of the Coalition Government By Matthew D'Ancona
Date: Thursday 31 October 2013
Time: 18:00 - 19:30
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Theatre.

Further Details

Book Launch

Anthony King and Ivor Crewe: The Blunders of Our Governments
Date: Monday 16th September 2013
Time: 18:30 - 20:00
Venue: NAB 1.04

Further detail: Unfortunately there is no recording of this event but photos are available here.

Where should we put Britain's hub airport(s)?

Date:  27th June 2013 18:30-20:00
Venue: Wolfson Theatre
Chair: Tony Travers
Paul Kehoe, Bridget Rosewell, Colin Matthews, Roger Vickerman

Further details

Book Launch
Charles Moore: Margaret Thatcher- Not For Turning
Date:Thursday 25 April 2013
Venue: LSE Old Theatre
Speaker: Charles Moore
Chair: Tony Travers

Not For Turning is the first volume of Charles Moore's authorized biography of Margaret Thatcher, the longest serving Prime Minister of the twentieth century and one of the most influential political figures of the postwar era.

Mark Hoban - Britain's Labour Market: Confounding The Sceptics
Wednesday 6th March 2013
Wolfson Theatre

Presented by  British Government @ LSE and LSE Civil Service and Public Policy Alumni Group. 

Nick Robinson: Live from Downing Street: The inside story of power, politics and the media
Live from Downing Street is the BBC’s political editor’s colourful and personal account of the relationship between the men and women who wield power and those whose job it is to tell the public what they are doing.
Download podcast 

Philip Gould: An Unfinished Life, edited by Dennis Kavanagh.
Professor Dennis Kavanagh launched his new book of essays about the New Labour figure Philip Gould, one of the most important people in the history of the Labour party and modern British politics.

Distilling the Frenzy - Peter Hennessy

Peter Hennessy examined the special considerations that apply to writing the history of one’s own times, with particular reference to themes running through the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

How Labour’s Traditions can Renew Beveridge for the 21st Century - Liam Byrne

Liam Byrne MP used this speech to outline how the Labour party is renewing Beveridge’s original ideas with an emphasis on responsibility rather than entitlement.

Memoirs - Peter Hain

Peter Hain MP discussed his time as an anti-apartheid campaigner, his time in the Labour party, his belief in Libertarian Socialism and his and Labour’s future in conversation about his book of memoirs.

The British Economy: Past and Future - Alistair Darling

Alistair Darling MP discussed his time as chancellor and his thoughts on the future economically and politically.

What About Women?

Ken Livingstone
Victoria Borwick
Brian Paddick
Jenny Jones

Each campaign for the mayor of London was represented in a debate on what each would do on various areas of policy with regards to women, such as the role of quotas.

  Parliamentary Select Committees

This theme concerns the work of Parliamentary Select Committees and their role in scrutinising the executive. It is our intention to have the chair of every Select Committee.

Public accounts select committee - Bernard Jenkin

Bernard Jenkin MP gave an insight into the workings of the Public Accounts Select Committee including the changing role of select committees as a whole with newly elected Chairs. He stressed the role the committee plays in seeking high standards of governance.

Work of the Select Committees - Sir Alan Beith

Sir Alan Beith discussed his experience on select committees and what roles they have to play in the UK parliamentary structure.

  Research Seminars

The research seminar series is a new theme for the academic year 2012/2013. This theme sees LSE academics discuss their own work.

Michaelmas term:

Seminar 1: Week 4
31st October 2012
Tony Travers: 
Devo max for London? Urban government and fiscal autonomy

Seminar 2: Week 7
21st November 2012
Cheryl Schonhardt-Bailey:
Monetary policy and the financial crisis 2006-2009.
Download podcast

Seminar 3: Week 10
12th December 2012
Adam Oliver:
Nudge verses Budge

Lent term:

Seminar 4: Week 4
6th February 2013
Julian LeGrand:
Nudge theory and the nanny state
Julian Le Grand Nudge-LSE-2013

Seminar 5: Week 7
27th February 2013
Patrick Dunleavy:
Reappraising Political Power

Seminar 6: Week 10
20th March 2013
Charlie Beckett:
Political communications in the age of austerity

  The New Coalition Government

This series of events covers the new British Coalition Government