Parties, Parliaments and Public Opinion (3PO)

The 3PO cluster brings together researchers working on themes related to political parties, political participation, public opinion and attitudes, and related areas.

University of Leicester’s Parties, Parliaments and Public Opinion (3PO) research cluster brings together scholars from the fields of comparative and British politics. The team has particular strengths in the analysis of public opinion on a range of topics including: European integration, immigration, foreign affairs, and environmental issues. Team members also work on the topics of Euroscepticism, and religion and politics, with further strengths in the study of political parties, legislatures – including the UK and European parliaments –public policy and Brexit.


Dr Ben Clements
Dr Stephen G. Hopkins
Dr Philip Lynch
Professor Lauren McLaren
Dr Alex Waddan
Dr Richard Whitaker

Cluster activities

3PO organises a series of activities to support team research projects. We host academic and practitioner lectures and seminars, inviting speakers whose research or job role is of particular importance to team members. 3PO emphasises research-led teaching, and our external guests are also invited to provide further insights on research-led topics that we are teaching our students.

In addition, 3PO organises ‘read-and-review’ workshops for team members and PGRs. In these workshops cluster members provide informal feedback to one another on written work such as draft papers and grant proposals before these are submitted for review to journals or funding agencies.

Ongoing projects

Parties, Parliaments, and the Brexit Process: This study, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (with Adam Cygan and Philip Lynch) focuses on how the Brexit vote has affected UK party politics, how Parliament has responded to Brexit in terms of its structures and procedures and attempts to identify those areas of policy that have been most subject to conflict between and within parties and are most likely to change once the UK has left the EU.

Religion and Politics: Clements is currently leading an AHRC-funded project involving a new survey of Catholic adults living in Britain. This project will provide an in-depth analysis of a range of topics, including personal faith and beliefs, religious practice and preferences, and social and political attitudes. Further information, findings and other resources are available from the project website.

Understanding Public Opinion on Immigration: Past research by 3PO team member McLaren showed that public concern about immigration in the UK and other European countries was contributing to distrust in national political systems. Current projects in this area have shifted the attention to understanding the public concern about immigration itself, focusing on (a) the impact of the mass media and (b) systematic generational differences in immigration opinions.

Grant success

Roman Catholics in Britain: Faith, Society and Politics, April 2019 – September 2020, Dr Ben Clements (principle investigator), Professor Stephen Bullivant (S Mary’s University, co-investigator) AHRC research grant, £170,228.

Parties, Parliament and the Brexit Process, April 2017 – March 2019, Philip Lynch and Rick Whitaker (COIs), with Professor Adam Cygan (PI), Leicester Law School, ESRC Brexit Priority project grant, £298,483.

Parties, Parliament and the Brexit Process: General Election 2019, November 2019 - March 2020, Philip Lynch and Rick Whitaker (COIs), with Professor Adam Cygan (PI), Leicester Law School, £50,428, ESRC.

MEPs in the 2014-19 European Parliament: The rise of Euroscepticism?, October 2014 – March 2016, Rick Whitaker (PI) and Simon Hix (COI), Leverhulme Trust, £56,399.

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Contact Details

Department of Politics and International Relations
University of Leicester
University Road
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 2702