Dr Richard Hayton

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 a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the journal Global Discourse.


  • Programme Director, Politics and Parliamentary Studies

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. 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.

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).

<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 am also the Director of our Politics and Parliamentary Studies programme.

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).

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>