Professor Nicholas Allen

Educational background

BA Politics, University of Warwick, 1997-2000

MA Politics, University of Essex, 2002-03

PhD in Government, University of Essex, 2003-08

Personal profile

I joined Royal Holloway in September 2009 having taught at the University of Essex and University College London. Before that, I read Politics as an undergraduate and then worked for a couple of years in London for a small parliamentary monitoring company.  I then resumed my formal studies with an MA in Politics, followed by a PhD in Government, which examined the impact of the Nolan reforms on the House of Commons.

I've been fascinated by British politics and its personalities for as long as I remember.  I grew up as a child of Thatcher and am now on my eighth prime minister (at time of writing). I'm extremely fortunate to be able to research and teach British politics - a subject matter that continues to excite, surprise and sometimes frustrate.

In 2018, I was awarded the Political Studies Association's Richard Rose Prize for my “significant contribution to the study of British politics”. 

Research interests

My research interests cover several areas of contemporary British politics, all underpinned by a broader concern with the changing relationships between citizens, politicians and political institutions. Some of my published work has extended my research beyond the British case to France and Germany.

Much of my initial work, reflecting my PhD, focused on parliamentary misconduct and ethics regulation at Westminster.  This work then evolved into a broader ESRC-funded study of public attitudes towards political integrity and political processes. The resulting monograph, Ethics and Integrity in British Politics, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2015.

My current research focuses on three main areas:

  • Electoral and party politics, with a particular emphasis on party manifestos and televised debates. I am presently co-editor of the Britain at Polls series of election books, the most recent of which was published on the 2017 general election.
  • The British prime ministership and the organisation of Britain’s political executive, including the cabinet-committee system. I am presently researching a book on cabinet reshuffles in British government.
  • The concept, measurement and behaviour of career politicians.


I have designed, developed and delivered seven different modules since joining Royal Holloway. I employ activities that promote active and experiential learning and encourage students to engage with and undertake original research in their coursework.  I have also published three articles with groups of students.

I was awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice in Teaching and Learning (with Merit) in 2011, and have been a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FEHA) since that time.

I currently teach three undergraduate modules:

  • PR2480 Democracy in Britain
  • PR3720 Leadership, Power and the British Prime Ministership
  • PR3103 Parliamentary Studies

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