Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

Dr Richard Hayton

Associate Professor of Politics

I joined POLIS as Lecturer in Politics in January 2013. Prior to that, having completed my PhD in the Department of Politics at the University of Sheffield, I held my first lectureship at the University of Huddersfield (2009-2012). I am a Trustee of the Political Studies Association of the United Kingdom, having been elected to its Executive Committee in June 2014.

Since 2011, I have been Convenor of the Political Studies Association Specialist Group for the study of Conservative politics. I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA), and founding editor of the New Perspectives on the Right book series hosted by Manchester University Press. I am a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the journal Global Discourse.

At Leeds, I am Programme Director for the BA Politics and Parliamentary Studies (PPS) degree with responsibility for arranging Westminster placements. I also organise placements for students on the MA Politics (Parliamentary) degree.

Research Interests

My research interests are focused on British party politics, ideologies and leadership, and a number of related themes. I have published extensively on Conservative politics and this continues to be a key interest of mine. I recently organised a workshop examining the fate of Conservative modernisation, which is leading to a special issue of the journal British Politics in April 2015. On the politics of the Coalition, I co-edited a special issue of Parliamentary Affairs published in January 2014. On Conservative politics more widely, my book on the party in opposition has been positively received by reviewers in outlets including the Australian Journal of Political Science, Contemporary British History, the London Review of Books, the LSE Review of Books, Political Studies Review, and the Times Higher Education Supplement. Also in the field of British party politics, with Dr Andrew Crines I organised two conferences which have led to edited collections on Labour and Conservative orators. I have a keen interest in the politics of national identity in the UK, particularly Englishness, and issues related to European integration, immigration and devolution.

Critical acclaim for Reconstructing Conservatism? The Conservative Party in Opposition, 1997-2010

‘One of British academia’s most promising and prolific political scientists, Richard Hayton has undoubtedly further enhanced his rapidly growing reputation with his new book, the eminently readable and engaging Reconstructing conservatism? The Conservative Party in Opposition, 1997-2010. Hayton has struck a commendably judicious balance in writing this book; it enshrines a good degree of conceptual and scholarly analysis to render it attractive to academics and students of contemporary British politics, yet he writes with a sufficient clarity of expression and lucidity of explanation which could appeal to non-academic readers with an interest in current affairs and political issues.’ (LSE Review of Books, 30 November 2012).

‘Bringing an excellent contribution to the expanding literature on this question, Richard Hayton has produced an astute account of the most recent period of opposition for the Conservative Party, bringing a new depth of focus to the explanation of change that occurred over the period… with an argument strongly supported by a deep appreciation of primary policy documents and interviews with key actors, Hayton presents a solid description of a party both changed and not changed, in language that remains accessible to the everyday reader without compromising the theoretical integrity required by the discipline.’ (Political Studies Review, vol. 12, p. 142).

‘In this excellent study of the Conservative Party in opposition Richard Hayton addresses a puzzle in recent British political history: why did it take so long for the Conservative Party to regain power after their election defeat of 1997? ... Uniquely in recent analyses of the Conservatives, Hayton regards the politics of Englishness as a key arena of contestation...’ (Australian Journal of Political Science, vol. 48, pp. 250-1).

‘... [Hayton’s] thematic approach to the period is distinctive, and it yields numerous insights into the party’s varied attempts to recover power... his overall argument is as persuasive as it is enjoyable to read. Another laudable feature of Hayton’s volume is that (in marked contrast to John Ramsden) he pays proper attention to the role of ideology within the Conservative Party, before and after Mrs Thatcher became leader.’ (Contemporary British History, vol. 27, pp. 514-24).


I currently lead the following modules.

  • Parliamentary Studies
  • The Politics of National Identity in the UK
  • Parliamentary Studies (Placement)
  • Parliamentary Studies
  • Parliamentary Studies (Placement)

I am also involved in the delivery of the following modules.

  • British Politics

PhD Supervision

I have supervisory experience at both MA by Research and PhD level, and would be keen to supervise promising research students in the following areas (broadly defined).

  • British politics
  • Party politics and political leadership in the UK
  • Political ideologies (especially conservatism)
  • National identity (especially issues related to Englishness and Britishness)
  • Parliament, the constitution and constitutional reform
  • Euroscepticism

Key Publications

Edited Books
Journal articles
Book Chapters

Media Contact Areas

I am happy to field media enquiries in my areas of research expertise, particularly in relation to British politics and political parties. I occasionally tweet @richard_hayton

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