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Contemporary British Politics


  • Credit value: 15 credits at Level 5
  • Convenor and tutor: Professor Dermot Hodson
  • Assessment: a 2000-word essay (90%) and 500-word seminar log (10%)

Module description

This module provides you with an understanding of British politics and government, its key institutions and actors, and the main issues of controversy and contestation. Drawing on the theory of the Westminster model, it examines in turn how some of the main institutions function in the UK in terms of power and democratic representation, from central government and parliament to local government and the devolved bodies. It also traces key changes such as reform to the UK’s changing constitution and altered voting behaviour.

Indicative module syllabus

  • The Westminster Model and British Politics
  • The Constitution and Rules of the Game: The Constitution Under Pressure?
  • Voting, Elections and Referendums: Why did Britain Vote Out?
  • House of Commons: Rebellion and Representation?
  • House of Lords: Reform and Representation?
  • Devolution in Britain: Northern Ireland
  • The Core Executive: Prime Ministers in Power?
  • Local Government: Do Mayors Make a Difference?
  • Representation in British Politics

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will:

  • be familiar with the main theories and models applied in the study of British politics and government, their ambitions, achievements and limitations
  • have a good understanding of British political institutions and processes, and how they relate to one another
  • have developed a critical approach to current debates and issues in British politics around democracy and representation
  • have practical skills of communication, evaluating and analysing argument
  • have transferable skills, including critical evaluation, analytical investigation, written presentation and oral communication.