Dr Richard Whitaker

Dr Rick Whitaker

Senior Lecturer

BA (Salford), MA Econ, PhD (Manchester)

Contact Details

My main research interests concern two areas: the study of legislatures, and British centre-right parties and European integration. On the first of these, my work so far has focused principally on the European Parliament and its internal organisation, specifically committees, party groups and national parties. I have also worked on the relationship between parliament and government at Westminster. On the second area, with Philip Lynch and Gemma Loomes, I have worked on a Leverhulme-funded project on party competition on the centre-right and have previously researched the Conservatives in the European Parliament (with Philip Lynch). I am currently chairing the Department's research cluster on Parties, Participation and Public Opinion (3PO).

Current Research

MEPs in the 2014-19 European Parliament: the rise of Euroscepticism?

This study is funded by a Leverhulme Research Project Grant of £56,399 (co-investigator Professor Simon Hix - London School of Economics) and began in October 2014. The research assesses the range of views represented in the European Parliament, changes in mainstream Members of the European Parliaments’ (MEPs) views over time, MEPs’ attitudes to democracy in the EU and the UK’s future relationship with the EU. It is based around a survey of MEPs, which will add to a time series of survey data collected by the European Parliament Research Group.

Recent Research Activities

Preliminary results from the project above were presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, San Francisco (September 2015). My most recent reserach on roll-call votes in European Parliament committees has been presented at the ECPR Joint Sessions of Workshops in Pisa, April 2016. In February 2015 I spoke at a European Parliament Press Service seminar on the 2014 European elections and the process of choosing the Commission President. I gave evidence as an expert witness to a hearing of the European Parliament's Constitutional Affairs committee in May 2013. The hearing concerned the European Parliament's right to self-organization and my evidence related to research conducted for my book on the European Parliament's committees.

PhD Supervision and Examination

As noted above, my main research interests concern two areas: the study of legislatures, and British centre-right parties and European integration. Plans for future research include work on Eurosceptics in the European Parliament and the success or otherwise of Euroscepticism more broadly. I would be keen to supervise projects on the European Parliament, the Westminster Parliament, comparative legislatures (particularly committees and parties in legislatures), and Eurosceptic political parties.

I currently supervise three PhD students: Laura MacKenzie who works on radical right parties and the European Parliament, Valasia Savvidou, working on immigration and voting behaviour, and Andrew Jones, working on the House of Lords and the management of coalition government. I supervised Peter Thomas, who gained his PhD in December 2013 on the politicization of immigration by the centre-right in the UK and France, 2000-2010, and Berta Barbet Porta who gained her PhD in May 2016, entitled Issues, party strategies and voter behaviour: A dynamic approach. I was second supervisor to Tim Sansom who completed his thesis on 'Political Marketing: The Conservatives in Opposition' in 2009, to Carol Weaver who completed a thesis on US-Russian tensions and EU policy in the Black Sea region in 2011 and to Mukhtar Hajizada who was awarded his PhD in December 2012 on 'Complex regionalisation in the wider Black Sea area'.

Learn more and apply for research degrees in Politics and International Relations.

I have acted as external examiner for PhD theses by David Marshall (LSE), Ana-Iuliana Postu (Royal Holloway), Amy Busby (Sussex), and Einion Dafydd (Aberystwyth).


My teaching, past and present, covers the following areas:

  • European Union institutions and policy-making
  • Comparative legislatures
  • Comparative politics in general
  • Research methods in political science

Recent Publications


Rick Whitaker: The European Parliament's Committees book cover (2011) The European Parliament's committees: National party influence and legislative empowerment, London: Routledge. Replication data

Recent Journal Articles and Chapters

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Contact Details

Department of Politics and International Relations
University of Leicester
University Road
Leicester, LE1 7RH
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 2702
Fax : +44 (0)116 252 5082
Email: politics@le.ac.uk