Professor Richard Whitaker

Professor and Thematic Research Lead for Parliament, Public Administration and the Constitution, UK Parliament

Picture of Richard Whitaker

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

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 2756



MEP survey data: 

Parliament and Brexit:


My teaching and research principally focuses around parliaments and political parties. I came to studying these via an undergraduate degree in Politics and Contemporary History at the University of Salford and - at the University of Manchester - an MA(Econ) in European Politics and Policy and a PhD on the European Parliament. Before joining the University of Leicester in July 2004 I worked as a lecturer at the Universities of Salford and Nottingham.

From January 2023 until September 2024 I am the Thematic Research Lead for Parliament, Public Administration and the Constitution in the UK Parliament. In this role, I act as a bridge between academic research and staff working for select committees and the libraries in the UK Parliament.


My main research interests concern (1) legislatures and (2) British parties and European integration. On the first of these my work focuses on the European Parliament and its internal organisation, specifically committees party groups and national parties. I also work on the Westminster Parliament including on parliamentary oversight of coalition governance. On the second area with Adam Cygan and Philip Lynch I have worked on two ESRC-funded projects on Parties Parliament and the Brexit process. These projects form part of the ESRC's UK in a Changing Europe programme. In the past with Philip Lynch I have also worked on a Leverhulme-funded project on party competition on the centre-right and have previously researched the Conservatives in the European Parliament. I am a member of the School's research cluster on Parties Participation and Public Opinion (3PO).


(forthcoming) 'Scrutiny in Challenging Times' in Cristina Leston-Bandeira, Alexandra Meakin and Louise Thompson (eds) Exploring Parliament, 2nd edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press, with Lucinda Maer.

(2024) 'The Political Space in the European Parliament: Measuring MEPs' Preferences Amid the Rise of Euroscepticism', European Journal of Political Research, 63:1, pp.153-171, with Simon Hix and Galina Zapryanova.

(2023) 'Working up the six-pack: Bargaining success in the European Council's task force on strengthening economic governance', European Union Politics, 24:3, pp.559-577, with David Moloney.

(2022) 'Minority Governments in the United Kingdom: Nearly-Winning Minorities and Lost Majorities' in Bonnie N. Field and Shane Martin (eds) Minority Governments in Comparative Perspective, Oxford: Oxford University Press, with Andrew Jones.

(2022), 'Divide to Conquer? Strategic Parliamentary Opposition and Coalition Government', Party Politics, 28:6, pp.999-1011, with Shane Martin.

(2021), 'Unity and Divisions on Departmental Select Committees: a Brexit Effect?', British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 23:3, pp.471-487, with Philip Lynch.

(2020) 'UK Parliamentary Scrutiny of the EU Political and Legal Space after Brexit', Journal of Common Market Studies, 58:6, pp.1605-1620, with Adam Cygan and Philip Lynch.

(2019), 'Select committees and Brexit: Parliamentary influence in a divisive policy area', Parliamentary Affairs, 72:4, pp. 923-944, with Philip Lynch. Associated data are available here.

(2019) 'Beyond Committees: Parliamentary Oversight of Coalition Government in Britain', West European Politics, 42:7, pp.1464-1486, with Shane Martin.

(2019) 'Brexit and the UK Parliament: Challenges and Opportunities' in Thomas Christiansen and Diane Fromage (eds) Brexit and Democracy: The Role of Parliaments in the UK and European Union, Basingstoke: Palgrave, pp.51-79, with Philip Lynch and Adam Cygan.

(2019) 'A case of ‘You can always get what you want’? Committee assignments in the European Parliament', Parliamentary Affairs, 72:1, pp.162-181.

(2018) 'All Brexiteers Now? Brexit, the Conservatives and Party Change'British Politics, 13:1, pp.31-47, with Philip Lynch. Associated data are available here.

(2017) 'The UK Independence Party (UKIP) and other primarily Eurosceptic parties' in Benjamin Leruth, Nicholas Startin and Simon Usherwood (eds) The Routledge Handbook of Euroscepticism, London: Routledge, pp.100-112.

(2017) 'Understanding MEPs: Four Waves of the European Parliament Research Group MEP Survey', European Union Politics, 18:3, with Simon Hix and Galina Zapryanova. Associated data are available here:

(2016) 'United Kingdom', European Journal of Political Research: Political Data Yearbook 2015, 55:1, pp.267-73.

(2016) 'Continuing Fault Lines and New Threats: European Integration and the Rise of UKIP’ in Gillian Peele and John Francis (eds) David Cameron and Conservative renewal: The limits of modernisation?, Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp.121-138, with Philip Lynch.

(2015) 'United Kingdom', European Journal of Political Research: Political Data Yearbook 2014, 54:1, pp.302-8.

(2014) 'Tenure, turnover and careers in the European Parliament: MEPs as policy-seekers', Journal of European Public Policy, 21:10, pp.1509-27.

(2014) 'Understanding the formation and actions of Eurosceptic groups in the European Parliament: pragmatism, principles and publicity'Government and Opposition, 49:2, pp.232-63, with Philip Lynch.

(2013) 'United Kingdom'European Journal of Political Research: Political Data Yearbook 2012, 52:1, pp.239-45.

(2013) 'Rivalry on the Right: The Conservatives, The UK Independence Party (UKIP) and the EU Issue'British Politics, 8:3. pp.285-312, with Philip Lynch.

(2013) 'Where there is discord, can they bring harmony? Managing intra-party dissent on European integration in the Conservative Party'British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 15:3, pp.317-39, with Philip Lynch. 

(2012) 'The UK Independence Party: understanding a niche party's strategy, candidates and supporters', Parliamentary Affairs, 65:4, pp.733-57, with Philip Lynch and Gemma Loomes.

(2011) 'United Kingdom'European Journal of Political Research: Political Data Yearbook, 50: 7-8, pp.1164-74.

(2011) 'Explaining support for the UK Independence Party at the 2009 European Parliament elections'Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, 21:3, pp.359-79, with Philip Lynch.

(2011) The European Parliament's committees: National party influence and legislative empowerment, London: Routledge.

(2010) 'United Kingdom', European Journal of Political Research: Political Data Yearbook, 49: 7-8, pp.1193-1202.

(2008) 'A Loveless Marriage: The Conservatives and the European People’s Party'Parliamentary Affairs, 61:1, pp.31-51, with Philip Lynch.

(2006) 'Parliament and Government, 2005-06: Reforms and Reflections'Parliamentary Affairs, 59:4, pp.694-702.

(2006) 'Ping-pong and policy influence: Relations between the Lords and Commons 2005-6'Parliamentary Affairs, 59:3, pp.536-45.

(2006) 'Backbench influence on government legislation? A flexing of parliamentary muscles at Westminster'Parliamentary Affairs, 59:2, pp.350-9.

(2006) 'Ascendant Assemblies in Britain? Rebellions, Reforms and Inter-Cameral Conflict', Parliamentary Affairs, 59:1, pp. 173-80.

(2005) 'Small Group Teaching: Perceptions and Problems'Politics, 25:2, pp. 116-25, with Amy Bogaard, Sabine C. Carey, Gwilym Dodd and Ian D. Repath.

(2005) 'The United Kingdom' in Juliet Lodge (ed.), The 2004 Elections to the European Parliament (Basingstoke, Palgrave).

(2005) 'Parliament and the Public: A view from the Outside' in Nicholas D. J. Baldwin (ed.), Parliament in the 21st Century (London, Politico's).

(2005) 'Parliament and the European Union: Refrigerators, Readings and Reforms' in Nicholas D. J. Baldwin (ed.), Parliament in the 21st Century (London, Politico's).

(2005) 'National parties in the European Parliament: an influence in the committee system?', European Union Politics, 6:1, pp. 5-28.

(2001) 'Party Control in a Committee-Based Legislature? The Case of the European Parliament', Journal of Legislative Studies, 7:4, pp. 63-88.


I would be keen to supervise projects on the European Parliament, the Westminster Parliament, comparative legislatures and Eurosceptic political parties.

I have supervised the following students to completion:

  • Andrew Jones (July 2020) Managing coalition government in an upper house: testing the 'keeping tabs' theory in the House of Lords 2010-15.
  • Ana Carrillo-Lopez (May 2018) European identity and voting in the European Parliament Elections: The Effect of Transnationalism in post-crisis EU.
  • Laura MacKenzie (November 2017) Participation in the European Parliament: Populist Parties and Rapporteurships.
  • Berta Barbet Porta (May 2016) Issues party strategies and voter behaviour: A dynamic approach.
  • Peter Thomas (December 2013) The politicisation of immigration by the centre-right in the UK and France 2000-2010.

I was second supervisor to Tim Sansom who completed his thesis on 'Political Marketing: The Conservatives in Opposition' in 2009 to Carol Weaver who completed a thesis on US-Russian tensions and EU policy in the Black Sea region in 2011 and to Mukhtar Hajizada who was awarded his PhD in December 2012 on 'Complex regionalisation in the wider Black Sea area'.


Comparative European Politics, European Union Politics, Parliamentary Studies, Political Analysis, Political Parties in Contemporary Britain.

Press and media

The UK Parliament and Brexit; the European Parliament.


I was a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University's School of Politics and International Relations during March 2019 working on a project on MEPs' careers with Professor Patrick Dumont. Recently I have presented conference papers on the salience of issues in the Brexit negotiations and patterns of parliamentary questions among opposition MPs at Westminster. I am the Reviews Editor for Government and Opposition.


  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
  • PhD in Government (University of Manchester).
  • MA (Econ) European Politics and Policy (University of Manchester).
  • BA (Hons) Politics and Contemporary History (University of Salford).
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