Dr Ben Clements

Associate Professor of Politics

Ben Clements profile

School/Department: History, Politics and International Relations, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 2701



I am Associate Professor in the School of History, Politics and International Relations. I have been at Leicester since 2010 and before that worked in a research post at the School of Education, University of Birmingham. I studied for my MA and PhD at the Department of Government, University of Essex. My PhD thesis was awarded the ‘Arthur McDougall Fund Prize for best dissertation in elections, electoral systems or representation’ by the Political Studies Association in April 2009.

I am a co-convener of the Political Studies Association's specialist group on Politics and Religion. I am a contributor to and a member of the project board for the British Religion in Numbers website.


My research focuses on three main areas.

Firstly, the role of religion in British politics and society, specifically the impact of religion on socio-political attitudes in Britain, and Catholics in Britain, including how they engage with their faith and the Catholic Church and their attitudes on social and political issues. I was the principal investigator for a recently-completed AHRC-funded project (with Professor Stephen Bullivant, St Mary's University): 'Roman Catholics in Britain: Faith Society and Politics.' For more information, please see the project website. The survey dataset and user documentation from this project are available from the UK Data Service: 'Catholics in Britain Survey, 2019'.

Secondly, public opinion on foreign and defence policy in post-war Britain, looking at attitudes in long-term and contemporary perspective on issues such as military intervention, the nuclear deterrent, European integration, the Commonwealth, US-UK relations, NATO, as well as how these issues relate to parties, elections, and wider society.

Thirdly, I am interested in public opinion in Britain on environmental issues, in both long-term and contemporary perspective. 



(2022), with S. Bullivant, Catholics in Contemporary Britain: Faith, Society, Politics. (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

(2018), British Public Opinion on Foreign and Defence Policy: 1945-2017 (London: Routledge).

(2016), Surveying Christian Beliefs and Religious Debates in Post-war Britain (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan).

(2015), Religion and Public Opinion in Britain: Continuity and Change (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan).


(2024), 'From Bush to Biden: British public opinion and the image of America', Journal of Transatlantic Studies,

(2022), with C. P. Thomson, 'The "ultimate insurance" or an "irrelevance" for national security needs? Partisanship, foreign policy attitudes and the gender gap in British public opinion towards nuclear weapons', European Journal of International Security, 7(3): 360-81.

(2022), with S. Bullivant, 'Why Younger Catholics Seem More Committed: Survivorship Bias and/or "Creative Minority" Effects among British Catholics', Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 61(2): 450-75.

(2021), with S. Bullivant, '"To Conscience first, and to the Pope (long) afterwards?" British Catholics and their attitudes towards morality and structural issues concerning the Catholic Church', Review of Religious Research, 63: 583-606.

(2021), 'British Public Opinion Towards the Vietnam War and UK-US Relations During the 1964-70 Labour Governments', International History Review, 43(4): 736-60.

(2020), 'Salience, Valence, Positions and Voting: International Affairs and British Electoral Politics in the 1960s', International History Review, 42(5): 891-912.

(2018), with C. D. Field, 'Abortion and public opinion in Britain: A fifty-year retrospective', Journal of Beliefs & Values, 39(4): 429-44.

(2018), 'Attitudes towards faith-based schooling amongst Roman Catholics in Britain', British Journal of Religious Education, 40(1): 44-54.

(2017), with K. Nanou and J. Real-Dato, 'Economic crisis and party responsiveness on the left-right dimension in the European Union', Party Politics, 24(1): 52-64.

(2017), 'Religious change and secularisation in Scotland: An analysis of affiliation and attendance', Scottish Affairs, 26(2): 133-162.

(2017), 'Examining non-religious groups in Britain: Theistic belief and social correlates', Journal of Contemporary Religion, 32(2): 315-324.

(2017), 'Weekly churchgoing amongst Roman Catholics in Britain: Long-term trends and contemporary analysis', Journal of Beliefs & Values, 38(1): 32-34.


With S. Bullivant (2020), Everybody Loves Francis? British Catholics’ ‘job approval’ ratings of the Pope (St Mary's University, London: Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society). Available at:



The role of religion in British politics; public opinion on foreign and defence policy in Britain; political parties and foreign and defence policy.


I convene the following modules:

  • PL3127 Political Participation in Britain.
  • PL3137 The Politics of Contemporary British Foreign Policy.
  • PL1012 Comparative European Politics.

I contribute to:

PL7161 International Relations After the Cold War.

I also contribute to other team-taught undergraduate modules. I supervise undergraduate, postgraduate and DL dissertations.

I am involved in supervising PhD students in Politics and International Relations and in History.

Press and media

The role of religion in British politics; attitudes and religious engagement of Catholics in Britain; public opinion on foreign and defence policy in Britain.


'A Cold War and Some Hot Potatoes: British Public Opinion Towards the USA’s International Role in the 1950s-60s', paper presented to the TSA Annual Conference, July 2023, Plymouth.

'A Cold War and Some Hot Potatoes: British Public Opinion Towards the USA’s International Role in the 1950s-60s', paper presented at the workshop on 'Politics, Policy and Publics in the United States and United Kingdom: Exploring Linkages and Making Comparisons', May 2023, University of Leicester.

'From Bush to Biden: British public opinion towards UK-US relations in the 21st Century', paper presented at the TSA Annual Conference, July 2022, Canterbury.

'Catholics in Britain: Attitudes towards moral and structural issues relating to the Catholic Church', paper presented at the PSA Annual Conference, March 2021, Belfast.

With N. Carter, 'Greener and Greener? A long-term perspective on the British public and environmental issues', paper presented at the PSA Annual Conference, April 2019, Nottingham.

With K. Nanou and J. Real-Dato, 'To respond or not to respond? The economic crisis public opinion and party positions on European integration', paper presented at the ECPR EU Standing Group Conference, June 2018, Paris.

'Conservative Party supporters' views on foreign policy: Then and now', Annual PSA Conference, March 2018, Cardiff.

Contributed to a panel on 'Permissiveness', 'What is Contemporary British History Now?' Conference, September 2017, King's College London.

'“Charity begins at home?” A review of public opinion in Britain towards foreign aid spending', Contemporary UK Development Aid conference, July 2017, University of Leeds.

'Catholics in Britain: Social Attitudes and Party Support,' Annual PSA Conference, April 2017, Glasgow.

'Surveying Non-Religion in Britain: Historical Trends and Contemporary Analysis', Annual PSA Conference, March 2016, Brighton.


I am a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Back to top