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.

Members of the group have interests, among other things, in Euroscepticism and immigration. The cluster aims to act as a stimulating and supportive research environment for academic staff, post-docs and PhD students working in the areas covered by the group.

Research projects

  • Parties, Parliament and the Brexit Process. Philip Lynch and Richard Whitaker are co-investigators on this ESRC-funded Brexit Priority Grant with Professor Adam Cygan (Law) as the principal investigator. Brexit is reshaping the divisions within and between political parties, impacting upon the strategies adopted by parties and individual MPs, and requiring Parliament to adapt its structures and procedures. This project combines analysis of the importance of institutions, and legislative and regulatory norms with an examination of the motivations and behaviour of political parties, individual MPs and the government.

  • PATHWAYS. Professor Laura Morales is the principal investigator for the British team of this comparative research project on the political representation of citizens of immigrant origin (CIO) in seven European democracies: France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom. The project seeks to advance knowledge in two areas: (a) the descriptive representation of CIO in the legislative assemblies of these seven European countries at the national and regional levels (where meaningful regional assemblies exist); and (b), for the first time, the parliamentary activities of representatives of immigrant origin (substantive representation). The Project is funded for three years (2014-2017) by the British ESRC, the Dutch NWO, the French ANR and the German DFG under the Open Research Area (ORA) scheme. The University of Leicester is the lead partner for the British team, which also includes researchers at the University of Manchester.

Completed Cluster Projects

  • ResponsiveGov was run by Laura Morales and funded by a European Research Council starting grant. The project looked at governments’ responsiveness to citizens’ demands and preferences between elections. The project financed a post-doctoral researcher, and two PhD students, Luca Bernardi and Daniel Bischof.
  • MEPs in the 2014-19 European Parliament: The rise of Euroscepticism? This project began in October 2014, and was conducted by Richard Whitaker, Professor Simon Hix (LSE) and Galina Zapryanova, and is funded by the Leverhulme Trust. It was based around a survey of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), which adds to a time series of MEP survey data. The research assesses the range of views represented in the European Parliament, changes in mainstream MEPs’ views over time, MEPs’ attitudes to democracy in the EU and the UK’s future relationship with the EU.
  • RAGE: Gabriella Lazaridis researched hate speech and populist othering in Europe: Through the race, age, gender looking glass (RAGE). This was a  €1,200,000 project funded by the EU’s DG Justice, ‘Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Programme’. Gabriella was the principal investigator and also led the Leicester team. The project examines 'populist' political discourse and its effect on those ‘othered’ by such discourse, particularly in the context of economic austerity and dwindling opportunities for young people. Eight teams covering nine EU member states (UK, France, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Denmark, Austria, Finland and Slovenia) took a mixed-methods approach to the analysis of populist discourse and its effects.
  • e-EAV (E-engagement against violence): Gabriella Lazaridis was also involved in the e-EAV comparative project, funded by the EU’s Daphne initiative. Gabriella led the British case, examining the remaking of traditional forms of discrimination through the new means of digital/social media. It aimed to promote young people's awareness of the impact of discrimination, and empower them through civic engagement (and also e-engagement) and media/digital literacy.

  • Competing on the centre right: an examination of party strategy in Britain was conducted by Philip Lynch and Richard Whitaker and funded by the Leverhulme Trust. This project analysed party competition on the centre-right in Britain with a specific focus on relations between the Conservatives and UK Independence Party.

  • Public attitudes towards climate change and the environment in Britain: Ben Clements was principal investigator on this British Academy funded project which examined public concern and beliefs about climate change and the environment. It provided a detailed survey of attitudes towards green issues under the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government, looking in particular at the effects of party support and ideological beliefs.

  • Simona Guerra has been principal investigator for the UK arm of the project ‘Voting Advice Application for Poles and Lithuanians Living in the UK’ funded by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Justice.  The project aims to be encourage participation of Poles and Lithuanians resident in the UK in local elections by providing them with a web-based tool to compare their opinions with those of politicians.


Details of previous seminar programmes are here.


Cluster activities

Ben Clements is a co-founder of the new Politics and Religion specialist group of the UK Political Studies Association.

Ben Clements and Simona Guerra organised a UACES-sponsored workshop: 'Sacred & Secular: Researching the Role of Religion in Contemporary Europe' that took place at the University of Leicester on 21 June 2013. It brought together those from leading think tanks in the area of politics and religion with academics specialising in this topic.

The Leicester Inter-disciplinary workshop on elections, public opinion, participation and parties (LIWEPOP) is run from within the cluster. This draws in academics from across the College of Social Sciences, of which more details can be found on the LIWEPOP website. The fifth of these workshops took place on 14 May 2014.

Dr Gabriella Lazaridis, in conjunction with Warwick University, ran an ESRC Conference: 'Whose Security? Migration-(In)security Dilemmas Ten Years After 9/11' on 7th- 8th March 2013. Details about the Conference Programme.

As part of its commitment to research training, the cluster organised a course on the R statistical package, running on campus from 30 January – 1 February 2013 in which 3PO members – staff and PhD students – participated.

The cluster also held a highly successful roundtable on the 2015 general election, where seven political scientists discussed the election results and their consequences for politics in the UK.

  • Introduction to the roundtable and overview of the 2015 general election results: Dr Richard Whitaker
  • The Conservatives and UKIP: Dr Philip Lynch
  • Scotland, Labour and women in the general election: Dr Meryl Kenny
  • Losses for small parties in coalitions and the Liberal Democrats: Dr Shane Martin
  • Northern Ireland and legitimacy: Stephen Hopkins
  • The election in a comparative context, support for the radical right and the financial crisis: Dr Luis Ramiro
  • Foreign policy, counter-terrorism and the EU: Dr Tara McCormack
  • Cluster members

    Academic staff

    Current PhD students

    • Richard Ilet
    • Andrew Jones
    • Foteini Panagiotopoulou
    • Valia Savvidou

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    University of Leicester
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    Tel: +44 (0)116 252 2702


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    Contact Details

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

    Tel: +44 (0)116 252 2702