Dr Nicholas Allen

Educational background

BA University of Warwick

MA University of Essex

PhD University of Essex

Personal profile

Nick joined the department in September 2009 as Lecturer in Politics. He completed his doctorate at the University of Essex in January 2008 and has held teaching positions at the University of Essex and University College London. His research interests include the British prime ministership, parliamentary misconduct, public attitudes towards political ethics and the changing British constitution.

Research interests

My current research interests are in British politics, with a particular focus on political integrity, ethics regulation and parliamentary misconduct.

My doctoral research explored how a series of institutional changes, dating from the mid-1990s and loosely known as the Nolan reforms, affected the House of Commons' ethics regulatory regime, some aspects of MPs' behaviour, MPs' ethical attitudes and public attitudes towards Parliament. This research interest has already resulted in a number of peer-reviewed articles. Parliamentary standards and misconduct are, of course, a live issue in British politics; it remains to be seen what impact recent ethics reforms will have on Parliament.

I am presently co-investigator, together with Sarah Birch of the University of Essex, on a British Academy and ESRC-funded project examining public attitudes towards political ethics in Britain (link for further information). The research will examine popular understandings of standards of conduct in public life and the flip side of these standards, namely political misconduct. The project should lead to the writing of a short monograph and at least four academic articles.

I am also very interested in the office of the British prime ministership. I have co-authored two articles relating to the prime minister's power to appoint and dismiss ministers. One article develops a spatial model of cabinet formation to explore the prime minister's power of appointment; the other explores the prime minister's power of dismissal, the constraints on its exercise and the way that different prime ministers in post-war Britain have made use of the power. Over the next few years, I intend to explore the phenomenon of ministerial turnover in Britain and the nature of prime ministerial-cabinet relations.

Finally, I am interested in politicians' changing beliefs and ideas about democracy. This interest is in its infancy; I am currently working on a paper that explores changes in political parties' stated views about democracy in Britain, France and Germany and the tendency for party politicians to be increasingly supportive of, and more vociferous in their demands for, citizens participation in decision making.

Teaching

Undergraduate:

  • PR1400: Introduction to Politics and Government (course leader)
  • PR3710: Advanced Seminar on British Politics (course leader)
  • PR3720: Advanced Seminar on British Politics, Term One (course leader)
  • PR3730: Advanced Seminar on British Politics, Term Two (course leader)

Postgraduate:

  • PR5918: Comparative Political Executives

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