After studying at the University of St. Andrews, I was appointed to a lectureship in History at the University of Leicester in 1979, where I taught until retiring in October 2016 with the honorary title of Emeritus Professor of Modern British History. I have been a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society since 1990 and am Historical Consultant to the Conservative Party Archive at the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford. I am a member of the editorial committee of the journal Parliamentary History, and a Trustee and the Treasurer of the Parliamentary History Trust.
In the New Year Honours List of 2018 I was awarded a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) ‘for services to political history’.
My research area is British political history during the twentieth century, especially in the period between the two World Wars. My main focus has been on the Conservative Party; despite its long record of electoral success and dominance in government since 1918, when I began research in the late 1970s this was a neglected area and my work has sought to redress this balance. This began with my first book, Baldwin and the Conservative Party: The Crisis of 1929-1931 (Yale University Press, 1988), and after other publications culminated in the substantial monograph, Portrait of a Party: The Conservative Party in Britain between the Wars 1918-1945 (Oxford University Press, 2013).
I am also interested in the history of Parliament, and have published a two-volume edition of the private diary of Cuthbert Headlam, who was a Conservative MP for most of the period from 1924 to 1951.
I am currently working on a number of articles exploring aspects of inter-war politics, and my major long-term project is a full-length biography of Stanley Baldwin, leader of the Conservative Party from 1923 to 1937 and three times Prime Minister during that period.
(editor), The Advent of Democracy: The Impact of the 1918 Reform Act on British Politics (Wiley, 2018)
- (editor), Conservative Politics in National and Imperial Crisis: Letters from Britain to the Viceroy of India 1926-1931 (Ashgate, 2014)
- Portrait of a Party: The Conservative Party in Britain 1918-1945 (Oxford University Press, 2013)
- Dole Queues and Demons: British Election Posters from the Conservative Party Archive (Bodleian Library, 2011)
- (editor, with Anthony Seldon) Recovering Power: The Conservatives in Opposition since 1867 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005)
- Winston Churchill (British Library & New York University Press, 2003)
- (editor), Parliament and Politics in the Age of Churchill and Attlee: the Headlam Diaries 1935-1951 (Royal Historical Society & Cambridge University Press, 1999)
- (editor), The Conservative Party since 1945 (Manchester University Press, 1998)
- (editor, with Anthony Seldon) The Heath Government 1970-1974: A Reappraisal (Longman, 1996)
- The Conservative Party and British Politics 1902-1951 (Longman, 1995)
- (editor, with Anthony Seldon) Conservative Century: the Conservative Party since 1900 (Oxford University Press, 1994)
- (editor), Parliament and Politics in the Age of Baldwin and MacDonald: The Headlam Diaries 1923-1935 (The Historiansâ€™ Press, 1992)
- Baldwin and the Conservative Party: The Crisis of 1929-1931 (Yale University Press, 1988)
Selected articles and essays
- 'Neville Chamberlain', in C. Clarke, T. James, T. Bale & P. Diamond (eds), British Conservative Leaders (Biteback, 2015), 211-236
- 'The principles of British Conservatism from Balfour to Heath, c.1910-1975', in R. Carr & B. Hart (eds.), The Foundations of the Modern British Conservative Party (Bloomsbury Academic, 2013), 13-38.
- 'The Conservative Party, the role of the state and the politics of protection', c.1918-1932', History, 96, no. 323 (2011), 280-303.
- 'The legacy of Coalition: fear and loathing in Conservative politics, 1922-1931', Contemporary British History, 25, no. 1 (2011), 65-82.
- 'Stanley Baldwin', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004), on-line & printed in Volume 3, 460-477.
- 'Churchill and the Conservative Party', Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 6th series, 11 (2001), 307-330.
- '1916-1929', in A. Seldon (ed.), How Tory Governments Fall: The Tory Party in Power since 1783 (Fontana, 1996), 231-283.
- 'Parliament and politics in Britain 1900-51', Parliamentary History, 10, no. 2 (1991), 243-276.
- 'The politics of appeasement: the fall of the Duchess of Atholl and the Kinross and West Perth by-election, December 1938', Scottish Historical Review, 69, no. 1 (1990), 49-83.
- 'The 1922 Committee: the formative years 1922-45', Parliamentary History, 9, no. 1 (1990), 129-157.
- 'The Conservative Party and the formation of the National Government: August 1931', Historical Journal, 29 (1986), 159-182.
- 'Failure of an opposition?: the Conservative Party in Parliament 1929-31', Parliamentary History, 5 (1986), 83-98.
- 'Asquith's decline and the general election of 1918', Scottish Historical Review, 61 (1982), 44-61.
As I am retired I no longer supervise postgraduate students.
I retired from teaching in October 2016.
Press and media
- British political history 1900 to 1951.
The Conservative Party 1867 to 1997.
I am a member of the editorial committee of the journal Parliamentary History, and a Trustee and the Treasurer of the Parliamentary History Trust.
I am Historical Consultant to the Conservative Party Archive at the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford.
I was awarded a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) ‘for services to political history’ in the New Year Honours List of 2018.
My book Portrait of a Party: The Conservative Party in Britain 1918-1945 (Oxford University Press, 2013) was awarded the prize for the Best Publication of the year by the Conservatives & Conservatism Group of the Political Studies Association.
I was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 1990.