Dr Richard Hayton


I joined POLIS as a Lecturer in Politics in January 2013, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2015.

From 2014 to 2017 I served on the Executive Committee of the Political Studies Association as an elected Trustee. Between 2011 and 2016 I was the Convenor of the Political Studies Association Conservatism Studies Specialist Group.

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 an Editor of the British Journal of Politics and International Relations (BJPIR) and member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the journal Global Discourse.

Since September 2022 I have been Co-Director of the Centre for Democratic Politics in POLIS. 


  • Co-Director, Centre for Democratic Politics
  • Editor, British Journal of Politics and International Relations

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 edited special issues of the journals Parliamentary Affairs on the politics of Coalition, and British Politics on the fate of Conservative Modernisation. 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.

In recent times I have published in Political Quarterly on the Conservative Party Statecraft of the Johnson Government and in International Political Science Review on Brexit and party change. 

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. I secured a grant from the White Rose Collaboration Fund to foster links between scholars and others interested in the politics of the North of England, leading to a series of events and publications. Between 2017 and 2021 I will be supervising a 1+3 ESRC-funded PhD student working in this area.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD
  • MA (with Distinction)
  • BA (Hons)
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (PCHE)

Professional memberships

  • FHEA

Student education

My teaching duties relate to my specialism in British politics, particularly in relation to party politics and the politics of national identity in the UK, including Brexit.

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 and public policy; party politics and political leadership in the UK; political ideologies (especially conservatism); Euroscepticism and the politics of Brexit; national identity (especially issues related to Englishness and Britishness); Parliament, the constitution and constitutional reform.

Current PhD students:

  • Ryan Swift (2018-2021) The politics of the North (1+3 ESRC award).
  • Oliver Booth (2021-2024) Conservative Party leadership and factionalism

Previous PhD students:

  • Jack Newman (2015-18) Welfare reform and the Coalition government (POLIS Research Scholarship. Degree awarded without corrections. External examiner, Prof David Marsh).
  • Alex Prior (2015-18) Parliament and Public Engagement (University Studentship. Degree awarded without corrections. External examiner, Prof Emma Crewe).
  • Dr William Allchorn (2013-16) The political response to the far right in the UK. (Funded by a POLIS Research Scholarship. Degree awarded with minor corrections. External examiner, Prof Peter Dorey).
  • Dr Elizabeth McEnhill (2011-15) From Opposition to Coalition: The Conservative Party and the Politics of Welfare Reform, 2005-15. (Funded by a University Studentship. Degree awarded with minor corrections. External examiner, Prof Tim Bale).

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>The school welcomes enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>