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School of Politics and International Relations

Professor Philip Cowley, BSc (Brunel), MA (Hull)


Professor of Politics

Twitter: @philipjcowley
Office Hours: Tuesday 10:00-11:00 (online) and Friday 12:00-13:00 (in person). Please book via the link below.


Having previously worked at the University of Nottingham and the University of Hull, Philip Cowley joined Queen Mary in early 2016.

He has been co-convenor of the PSA’s Elections, Public Opinion and Parties specialist group and was one of the editors of Parliamentary Affairs. He has won various prizes from the Political Studies Association for his research, including their Richard Rose Prize for the best young scholar working on British politics and the Political Communication prize. In 2003, he received the PSA’s W.J.M. Mackenzie prize for his book Revolts and Rebellions, and, along with Mark Stuart, he won the PSA’s Innovation in Teaching award in 2013 for the teaching of parliament. 

His media work has included articles for the most major British newspapers and magazines, and he has appeared on various BBC radio and television programmes. He writes a regular column for the House magazine.

Office hour booking link


Research Interests:

My research covers British political elites, including elections, parliament, and issues of representation.  

Examples of research funding:

I have received various funding support from the ESRC, the Leverhulme Trust and the Nuffield Foundation, which has supported work on parliament and elections.



The British General Election of 2017 (London: Palgrave, 2018) (with D. Kavanagh)

The British General Election of 2015 (London: Palgrave, 2015) (with D. Kavanagh), 483pp. + xx.   

The British General Election of 2010 (London: Palgrave, 2010) (with D. Kavanagh), 446pp. + xvii.   

The Rebels: How Blair Mislaid His Majority (London: Politico’s, 2005), 317pp. + xiv. Shortlisted for the Channel 4 Political Book of the Year Award 2005.  

Revolts and Rebellions: Parliamentary Voting Under Blair (London: Politico’s, 2002), 276pp.+ x. Winner of the Political Studies Association’s WJM Mackenzie Prize for the best political science book published in 2002.  

Edited books

Sex, Lies and Politics: The Secret Influences That Drive our Political Choices  (London, Biteback, 2019) (ed. with R. Ford)

Developments in British Politics 10 (London: Palgrave, 2016) (ed. with R. Heffernan, C. Hay, M. Russell), 356pp. +xviii.

More Sex Lies and the Ballot Box: Another 50 Things You Need to Know about Elections (London, Biteback, 2016) (ed. with R. Ford), 308 + xxiii

Sex Lies and the Ballot Box: 50 Things You Need to Know about British Elections (London, Biteback, 2014) (ed. with R. Ford), 306 + xxvii. Shortlisted for the Paddy Power Practical Politics book of the year 2014.

Developments in British Politics 9 (London: Palgrave, 2011) (ed. with R. Heffernan, C. Hay), 368pp. +xvi.

Developments in British Politics 8 (London: Palgrave, 2006) (ed, with P. Dunleavy, R. Heffernan, C. Hay), 386pp. + xiv.

Conscience and Parliament (London: Frank Cass, 1998) (ed), 204pp. + viii.

British Elections and Parties Review Volume 10 (London: Frank Cass, 2000) (co-ed, with D. Denver, A. Russell and L. Harrison), 299pp. +xviiii.  

British Elections and Parties Review Volume 9 (London: Frank Cass, 1999) (co-ed, with J. Fisher, D. Denver and A. Russell), 274pp. +xviii.

British Elections and Parties Review Volume 8 The General Election (London: Frank Cass, 1998) (co-ed, with D. Denver, J. Fisher and C. Pattie), 293pp + xvii.   

Journal articles

Legislator Dissent Does Not Affect Electoral Outcomes’, British Journal of Political Science (2023), 53 (2), 789-795 (with R. Umit)

The Death of May’s Law: Intra- and Inter-Party Value Differences in Britain’s Labour and Conservative Parties’, Political Studies (2022), 70 (4), 939–961 (with A. Wager, T. Bale, A. Menon)

Increasingly local: the regional roots of British Members of Parliament, 2010–2019’, The Journal of Legislative Studies (2022) (with R. Gandy and S. Foster)  

How to Get Information Out of Members of Parliament (Without Being Told Off by the Speaker)’, Political Studies Review (2022), 20 (2), 236–242

What's in a Name? The Length of Westminster Constituency Titles, 1950–2024’, The Political Quarterly (2021), 92: 727-731 (with M. Bailey).

Getting Better, Slowly. Ethnicity, Gender and Party in London's Local Government’, The Political Quarterly (2019), 90, 117-123 (with M. Muroki)

Why friends and neighbors? Explaining the electoral appeal of local roots’, Journal of Politics (2019), 81 (3) (with R. Campbell, N. Vivyan, M. Wagner)

Modes of UK Executive–Legislative Relations Revisited’, Political Quarterly (2018), 89 (1), 18-28 (with M. Russell).

'The impact of parental status on the visibility and evaluations of politicians', British Journal of Politics and International Relations (2018), 20 (3), 753–769 (with R. Campbell).

Candidate localness and voter choice in the 2015 General Election in England’, Political Geography (2017) 59 (1) (with J. Evans, R. Campbell, and K. Arzheimer).

Legislator Dissent as a Valence Signal’, British Journal of Political Science (2016, advance view) (with R. Campbell, N. Vivyan and M. Wagner).

The Policy Power of the Westminster Parliament: the 'parliamentary state' and the empirical evidence’,  Governance (2016) 29 (1), 121-137 (with M. Russell)

‘Whipping them in: Role playing party cohesion with a Chief Whip’, Journal of Political Science Education (2015, Early View) (with M. Stuart)

‘The effect of teaching parliamentary studies on students’ knowledge and attitudes: a pilot study’, Politics (2014, Early View) (with M. Stuart).

‘Attitudes to moonlighting politicians: evidence from the UK’, Journal of Experimental Political Science (2014, Early View) (with R. Campbell)

What voters want: reactions to candidate characteristics in a survey experiment’, Political Studies (2014) 62 (4), 745-765 (with R. Campbell)

‘The Representation of Women in Politics, Addressing the Supply-Side: Public Attitudes to Job-Sharing Parliamentarians’, British Politics (2014) 9 (4), 430-449 (with R. Campbell)

‘Descriptive representation and political trust: a quasi-natural experiment utilising ignorance’, Journal of Legislative Studies (2014) 20 (4), 573-587

‘Rebellion versus Loyalty, Shirking versus Working: A note on framing parliamentary behaviour’, Representation 50 (4): 421-427 (with R. Campbell)

‘In the Brown Stuff?: Labour backbench dissent under Gordon Brown, 2007-2010’, Contemporary British History (2014) 28(1), 1-23 (with M. Stuart)

‘Rich man, poor man, politician man: Wealth effects in a candidate biography survey experiment’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations (2014) 16 (1), 56-74 (with R. Campbell)

‘Arise, Novice Leader!: The Continuing Rise of the Career Politician in Britain’, Politics (2012) 32 (1), 31-38.

‘The Cambusters: The Conservative European Referendum Rebellion of October 2011’, Political Quarterly (2012) 83 (2), 402-406 (with M. Stuart).

‘The Politics of Local Presence: Is there a Case for Descriptive Representation?’, Political Studies (2011), 59 (1), 1-19 (with S. Childs).

‘Where has all the trouble gone? British intra-party parliamentary divisions during the Lisbon ratification British Politics’, British Politics (2010), 5 (1), 133-148 (with M. Stuart).  

‘Party Rules, OK: Voting in the House of Commons on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill’, Parliamentary Affairs (2009), 63(1), 173-181 (with M. Stuart).  [This led to a published response and then the following rejoinder: ‘Response to Alison Plumb and David Marsh’, Parliamentary Affairs (2011) 64(4), 777-780].

‘The Parliamentary Party’, Political Quarterly (2009), 80(2), 214-221.

‘Parliament: It’s being so cheerful as keeps me going’, Political Quarterly, 80 (4), 577-579.

‘There was a Doctor, a Journalist and Two Welshmen: the Voting Behaviour of Independent MPs in the United Kingdom House of Commons, 1997-2007’, Parliamentary Affairs, (2009) 62 (1), 19-31 (with M. Stuart)

‘Parliament: Hunting for Votes’, Parliamentary Affairs (2005), 58 (2), 258-271 (with M. Stuart).

‘Still Causing Trouble: The Conservative Parliamentary Party’, Political Quarterly (2004), 75 (4), 356-361 (with M. Stuart).

‘Votes at 16?  The Case Against’, Representation (2004), 41 (1), 57-62 (with D. Denver).

‘Parliament: More Bleak House than Great Expectations’, Parliamentary Affairs (2004), 57 (2), 301-314 (with M. Stuart).

‘In Place of Strife?  The PLP in Government, 1997-2001’, Political Studies (2003), 51 (2), 315-331 (with M. Stuart).

‘Labour in Disguise?  Liberal Democrat MPs, 1997-2001’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations (2003), 5 (3), 393-404 (with M. Stuart).

‘Too Spineless to Rebel?  New Labour’s Women MPs’, British Journal of Political Science (2003), 33 (3), 345-365 (with S. Childs).

‘Parliament: More Revolts, More Reform’, Parliamentary Affairs (2003) 56 (2), 188-204 (with M. Stuart).

‘Voting in the House or Wooing the Voters at Home: Labour MPs and the 2001 General Election Campaign’, Journal of Legislative Studies (2002), 8 (2), 9-22 (with R. Johnston, C. Pattie, and M. Stuart).

‘What a ridiculous thing to say! (which is why we didn’t say it): a response to Timothy Heppell’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations (2002), 4 (2), 325-329 (with P. Norton).

‘Reform of the House of Lords: Lessons from Abroad’, Journal of Legislative Studies (2002) 8 (3), 1-2 (with M. Sandford).

‘Parliament: More continuity than change (but more change than you’d think)’, Parliamentary Affairs (2002) 55 (2), 271-286 (with M. Stuart). [Reprinted in UK 2001: Into the Second Term, edited by F F Ridley and Michael Rush, Special Schools Edition of Parliamentary Affairs, published by the Hansard Society, 2002]

‘The Observer: good at observing, less good at influencing?’, Political Studies (2001) 49 (5), 957-968.

‘AMS in a cold climate: lessons from Scotland’, Representation (2001) 37 (3/4), 175-185 (with S. Lochore).

‘The Commons: Mr Blair’s Lapdog?’, Parliamentary Affairs (2001), 54 (4), 815-828.

‘Parliament: A Few Headaches and a Dose of Modernisation’, Parliamentary Affairs (2001) 54 (2), 238-256 (with M. Stuart).

‘Peasants’ Revolt or Religious War?’, British Journal of Political Science (2000) 30 (4), 599-629 (with M. Bailey).

‘British Parliamentarians and European Integration: a re-examination of the MPP’, Party Politics (2000) 6 (4), 462-472.

‘Ambassadors in the Community?  Labour Party members in society’, Politics (1999) 19 (2), 89-96 (with A. Martin).

‘Rebels and Rebellions: Conservative MPs in the 1992 Parliament’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations (1999) 1 (1), 84-105 (with P. Norton).

‘The British Conservative Party and Europe: the choosing of John Major’, The British Journal of Political Science (1998) 28 (3), 39-65 (with J. Garry).

‘Unbridled Passions?  Free Votes, Issues of Conscience and the Accountability of British Members of Parliament’, Journal of Legislative Studies (1998) 4 (2), 70-88.

‘Sodomy, Slaughter, Sunday Shopping and Seatbelts: Free Votes in the House of Commons, 1979 to 1995’, Party Politics (1997) 3 (1), 141-152 (with M. Stuart).

‘Peers’ careers: ministers in the House of Lords, 1964-95’, Political Studies (1997) 45 (1), 21-35 (with D. Melhuish).

‘“Crossing the floor”: Representative Theory and Practice in Britain’, Public Law (1996) Summer, 214-224.

‘The Wild Mammals (Protection) Bill: a parliamentary white elephant?’, Journal of Legislative Studies (1996) 2 (4), 339-355 (with N. Stace).

‘The Riddle of the Third Hurdle.  Re-electing the Conservative Leader’, Politics (1996) 16 (2), 79-86.

‘Whither the ‘new role’ in policy making?  Conservative MPs in standing committees, 1979 to 1992’, Journal of Legislative Studies (1995) 1 (4), 54-75 (with D. Melhuish).

‘Marginality, Mortality and Majority’, Politics (1995) 15 (2), 89-95.

‘Parliament and the Poll Tax: a case study in Parliamentary Pressure’, Journal of Legislative Studies (1995) 1 (1), 94-114.  

Book chapters

The Calling of the Election’, in R. Ford et al , The British General Election of 2019, Palgrave Macmillan (2021)

‘What if Jeremy Corbyn had stood down in late 2017’ in D. Brack and I. Dale (eds), Prime Minister Priti: And other things that never happened, London, Biteback (2021)

‘The Rise of the Professional Politician’ in C. Leston-Banderia and L. Thompson (eds), Exploring Parliament, Oxford, Oxford University Press (2018) (with P. Allen).

‘The Parliamentary Party’ in G. Peele et al (eds) Modernizing Conservatism, Manchester, Manchester University Press (in press) (with M. Stuart and T. Trenner-Lyle).

‘The Coalition and Parliament’ in A. Seldon and M. Finn, The Coalition Effect, 2010-2015 Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2015.

‘The Coalition’s Wobbly Wings: Backbench Dissent in the Commons since May 2010’, in H. Kassim, C. Clarke, and C. Haddon (eds), The Coalition: Voters, Parties and Institutions, London, UEA/Institute for Government, 2012, pp. 44-48 (with M. Stuart).   

‘Into Government: Coalition (2010-2011)’ in D. Brack and R. Ingram (eds), Peace, Reform and Liberation: A History of Liberal Politics in Britain 1679-2011, London, Biteback, 2011, pp. 364-372 (with M. Ryder).

‘What if Gordon Brown had called an election in 2007?’, in D. Brack and I. Dale (eds), Prime Minister Boris: and other things that never happened London, Biteback, 2011, pp. 247-258.

‘Ignored, Irresponsible and Irrelevant?  Opposition MPs in the House of Commons’, in N. Fletcher (ed) How to be in Opposition, London, Biteback, 2011, pp. 173-185 (with M. Stuart).

‘Parliament Under Brown: The Commons and Lords in 2007-08’, in M. Rush and P. Giddings (eds), Gordon Takes the Helm, London, Palgrave, 2008 (with R. Kelly, L. Maer, O. Gay, and P. Norton).

‘It’s the trajectory, stupid’, in A. Brazier and S. Kalitowski (eds), No Overall Control?  The Impact of a Hung Parliament on British Politics. London, Hansard Society, 2008, pp. 37-42.

‘A Rebellious Decade? Backbench rebellions Under Tony Blair’, in M. Beech and S. Lee (eds), Ten Years of New Labour, London, Palgrave, 2008, pp. 103-199 (with M. Stuart).

‘Parliament’ in A. Russell and G. Stoker (eds), Failing Politics? A Response to The Governance of Britain Green Paper, Newcastle, PSA, 2007, pp. 9-13.

‘Parliament’, in A. Seldon (ed), Blair’s Britain, Cambridge University Press, 2007, pp. 16-34.

‘Parliament: The House of Commons – Plenty of Business but Marking Time’ in M. Rush and P. Giddings (eds) The Palgrave Review of British Politics 2006, London, Palgrave, 2007, pp. 101-118 (with R. Kelly and O. Gay).

‘Parliament: The House of Commons – Turbulence Ahead?’ in M. Rush and P. Giddings (eds) The Palgrave Review of British Politics 2005, London, Palgrave, 2006, pp. 109-121 (with R. Kelly and O. Gay).

‘New Leaders, Same Problems: The Conservatives’ in A. Geddes and J. Tonge (eds) Britain Decides: The UK General Election 2005, London, Palgrave, 2005, pp. 46-68 (with J. Green).

‘Parliament’ in A. Seldon and D. Kavanagh (eds) The Blair Effect 2001-5, Cambridge, CUP, 2005, pp. 20-42 (with M. Stuart).

‘Rebel early, rebel often’ in S. Henig and L. Baston (eds) Politico’s Guide to the General Election. London: Politico’s, 2005, pp. 49-63 (with M. Stuart).

‘Thatcherism with Apologies: What if Edward Heath had stepped down in 1974’, in D. Brack and I. Dale (eds), Prime Minister Portillo and other things that didn’t happen, London, Politico’s, 2003, pp. 193-210 (with M. Bailey).

‘The Parliamentary Party’ in P. Lynch and M. Garnett (eds), The Conservatives in Crisis, Manchester, MUP, 2003, pp. 66-81 (with M. Stuart).

‘The New Labour MPs Voting’ in S. Childs, Women Representing Women, London, Frank Cass, 2004, pp. 144-165 (with S. Childs).

‘Dealing with Moral Issues’, in D. Denver et al (eds), Central Debates in British Politics (London: Longman, 2002), pp. 351-367.

‘The Conservatives: running on the spot’ in A. Geddes and J. Tonge (eds) The General Election (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2002), pp. 47-65 (with S. Quayle).

‘The Commons: Mr Blair’s Lapdog?’, in P. Norris (ed) Britain Votes 2001 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), pp. 251-264. [Reproduced in an abridged form in A. Chadwick and R. Heffernan (eds), The New Labour Reader (Cambridge: Polity, 2003), pp.318-321].

‘Voting in the Scottish Parliament: The First Year’, in J. Tonge et al (eds) British Elections and Parties Review Vol 11 (London: Frank Cass, 2001), pp. 84-103.  

‘Britain: taking the politics out of morality’, in C. Z. Mooney (ed), The Public Clash of Private Values: The Politics of Morality Policy (Chatham, NJ: Chatham House, 2001), pp. 213-226.  

‘In place of strife?  The parliamentary party’, in S. Ludlam and M. J. Smith (eds), New Labour (London: Macmillan, 2001) (with D. Darcy and C. Mellors), pp. 92-110.

‘Mr Blair’s Loyal Opposition?  The Liberal Democrats in Parliament’, in British Elections and Parties Review Volume 10 (London: Frank Cass, 2000) (with D. Darcy, C. Mellors, J. Neal and M. Stuart), pp. 100-116.

‘Legislatures’, in P. Dunleavy et al (eds), Developments in British Politics 6 (London: Macmillan, 2000), pp. 108-126. [Revised chapter in Dunleavy et al, Developments in British Politics 6, Revised Edition (London: Macmillan, 2002), pp. 108-126].

‘The Parliamentary Party’, in P. Dorey (ed), The Major Premiership (London: Macmillan, 1999), pp. 1-25.   

‘The absence of war?  New Labour’s Parliamentarians’, in J. Fisher et al (eds), British Elections and Parties Review Volume 9 (London: Frank Cass, 1999), pp. 155-170.  

‘The Conservative Party: decline and fall’, in A. Geddes and J. Tonge (eds), Labour’s Landslide (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1997), pp. 37-51.

‘The Promise of Reform’, in B. Jones and L. Robins (eds), Half a Century of British Politics (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1997), pp. 108-127.

‘How Did He Do That?  The Second Round of the 1990 Conservative Leadership Contest’, in D. M. Farrell et al, British Parties and Elections Yearbook 1996 (London: Frank Cass, 1996), pp. 198-216.


Philip has successfully supervised four graduate students to PhD level, across a range of topics involving political participation and behaviour, and is keen to hear from anyone interested in doctoral study.

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