Dr Timothy Heppell


I am an expert in post war British politics with research interests in political parties and Prime Ministerial leadership. 

I have published ten books and twenty-five chapters in edited books, alongside fifty articles in leading political science journals, such as the Journal of Common Market StudiesGovernment and Opposition, the British Journal of Politics and International Relations and the Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties. I have provided evidence to the House of Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee and was cited in their subsequent report entitled ‘The Role of Powers of the Prime Minister’. I also co-authored ‘What Makes for an Effective Leader of the Opposition’ for the Centre for Opposition Studies. 

I have experience of working with the media, including interviews on General Election campaigns and party leadership election campaigns for BBC Television and Radio, the Guardian, the Independent and the Washington Post. 

I have two decades worth of experience providing research led teaching on British political parties. I have served in a variety of administrative roles, including Admissions Tutor, Programme Leader, Placement Tutor, Research Ethics Officer and Academic Group Leader for Politics. I am currently the Examinations Officer-Assessment Lead for the School. I have acted as an external examiner for undergraduate and postgraduate programmes at the University of Sheffield, the University of Central Lancashire, University of Liverpool, Lancaster University and Queen Mary, University of London.  


  • Examinations Officer-Assessment Lead

Research interests

I contribute to the activities of the Centre for Democratic Engagement through my research on British political parties and Prime Ministerial leadership. 

I have received funding as part of an ESRC-AHRC project comparing the Japanese and UK Prime Ministers. 

I am currently researching a book due for publication with Routledge in 2022 entitled ’The Labour Party in Opposition from Attlee to Corbyn’.  

<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 'Prime Ministerial Leadership and Party Management in the House of Commons 1992 to 1997'.
  • BA Politics

Professional memberships

  • I was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 2017.
  • I have previously provided research leadership as the co-convener of the Political Studies Association Specialist Group in Political Leadership (2010 to 2016).

Student education

I have taught the following two modules in POLIS for many years – ‘The Labour Party since 1945’ and ‘The Conservative Party since 1945’. 

I have contributed to the supervision of eight doctoral theses and I have acted as external examiner to three.

I currently contribute to the supervision of the following PhD students:

George Aylett (2019- ) The Labour Party Leadership of Jeremy Corbyn (co-supervised with Dr Victoria Honeyman)

Oliver Booth (2021-  ) Continuity and Change in the British Conservative Party from Cameron to Johnson (co-supervised with Dr Richard Hayton)

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Democratic Engagement
  • Leadership, Parties and Institutions

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>