Academic study and the practical side of politics have gone hand-in-hand throughout my career.
During my first degree in Politics at Queen Mary, University of London, I worked part-time at the House of Commons for a member of the Shadow Cabinet. After graduating, I served as an elected student officer at the University of London Union, before going to work at City Hall as a researcher for the Conservative Group on the London Assembly. From there I was recruited to the Conservative Research Department, and became a Special Adviser to the Shadow Cabinet, first on Home Affairs, then on Education and Skills.
In this role, I worked directly with and advised senior MPs (including Boris Johnson in his first frontbench roles and David Cameron as he stood for the leadership), and helped develop the party’s policy ahead of the 2005 and 2010 elections. After leaving, I returned to Conservative Campaign Headquarters to provide research support during the 2015 and 2017 General Elections, and was also a member of Theresa May’s leadership campaign team in 2016.
Meanwhile, I continued to pursue my academic study of politics, setting up the Centre for Opposition Studies in 2010 to promote greater research focus on this subject, and editing a book, “How to be in Opposition” in 2011. I was awarded my PhD by King’s College London in 2018, and began teaching there on the Politics and Contemporary History MA course. I have also taught on other courses at King’s and other universities, including modules on Public Policy, Parliamentary Studies and Comparative Politics.
I have also been involved in local politics, and was first elected as a Councillor in the Royal Borough of Greenwich in 2005, becoming Deputy Leader of the Opposition in 2010, before an enforced sabbatical in 2014 courtesy of the local electorate. Returning to the Council, I eventually became Leader of the Opposition, but retired from the Council in 2022 after again losing my seat and finally taking the hint.
My first monograph is due for publication in the near future, and I continue to pursue research interests in British post-war political history, political opposition and the evolving UK constitution.
In January 2022, I was appointed as a member of the Advisory Council on National Records and Archives, the statutory committee which advises the government on issues relating to official records in the UK. As a member of that body, I also serve on the Forum for Historical Manuscripts and Academic Research.