Supervisor: Professor Philip Cowley
Research topic: The role of Christian groups in UK government policymaking
Daniel is researching the role of Christian groups in UK government policymaking. In addition to his doctoral studies, he is also a Research Fellow at the Mile End Institute at Queen Mary, where he is working on a research project monitoring the implementation of 'English Votes for English Laws' in the House of Commons. He previously worked at the Constitution Unit at UCL, where he researched the policy impact of the UK parliament; this resulted in several publications including his co-authored book, Legislation at Westminster. He has also previously written for the Christian think tank, Theos. A full list of his academic publications is here.
Academics have sometimes assumed that Christian groups are no longer important in UK politics, in part because of perceptions of ‘secularisation’. But there are clear signs that the churches continue to matter – although perhaps in new ways. Church leaders frequently speak out on political matters, while Christian-based pressure groups have in recent years mobilised around high-profile policy issues such as welfare reform and opposition to same-sex marriage marriage.
Recent developments within government – both in its attitudes towards outside interests in general, and towards religion in particular – may have created new opportunities for Christian groups to participate in public policy debates. Yet Christianity's influence on public policy remains highly contentious. For some, its involvement risks compromising the neutrality of the British state and opening the door to greater discrimination. From others, by contrast, there are complaints that religious actors are in fact being marginalised by a largely secular and religiously illiterate government bureaucracy.
Religion’s influence on public policy has sometimes attracted more opinion than empirical analysis. This project aims to better understand Christian groups’ engagement with contemporary UK government policymaking, focusing in particular on the period 2010-15. The findings will help to identify the ways in which Christianity continues to contribute to British politics and society, and may be of wider interest to government, the churches, and others.