Hugh Pemberton

Hugh Pemberton is Professor of Contemporary British History at the University of Bristol, UK. He is an expert on the political history of postwar Britain with a particular interest in economic policy, the history of UK government, the Labour Party, and British pensions policy.

The Factionalisation of Labour’s Parliamentary Party


What do the Labour Party’s elections for leader and deputy leader tell us about ideological divisions within the party? Certainly the process has turned out to be much more newsworthy and more politically divisive than anybody expected. With my University of Bristol colleague Mark Wickham-Jones I have been analysing developments and will be writing more on this topic in the months to come. Even now, however, it is possible to draw important conclusions about the way in which ideological divisions have deepened since the party’s last leadership election in 2010. The development of polarised factions was evident almost from the start, when MPs made their nominations. We have written up our findings on this, identifying two key factions within the Parliamentary Labour Party – one with an institutional basis in the trade unions and one based around Progress. Details of our analysis will appear in the next hard copy issue of Renewal but the article is already available on ‘early view’, and it’s free to access (‘Factionalism in the Parliamentary Labour party and the 2015 leadership contest‘).

A couple of posts published by us on other blogs summarise some of the findings:

‘Friends and neighbours’ effects in the 2010 Labour leadership contest

Does geography play any part within a political party’s internal elections? As they build their Parliamentary careers, do potential party leaders develop a support base among other MPs representing the same region? In an LSE blog post with Ron Johnston, David Manley, Charles Pattie, Hugh Pemberton and Mark Wickham-Jones we map where each of the candidates for Labour’s Leadership and Deputy Leadership in 2015 gained the necessary nominations to place them on the ballot papers and find some interesting patterns. Some of the candidates depended substantially on support from their ‘home region’, with one other the apparent beneficiary of local campaigning in another region by her team.

Research resources for the contemporary British historian

I’ve added a new page to the site: a guide to research resources that will be of interest to historians of contemporary Britain. It used to reside elsewhere, in a slightly different form, and a few of the links may need updating – but I aim to get them all checked over the summer. At some point I might even get around to blogging in earnest …

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