Academic study and the practical side of politics have gone hand-in-hand throughout my professional career.
During my first degree in Politics at Queen Mary, University of London, I was working 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. Since leaving, I have 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.
Alongside my work at the national level, I have also been heavily 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 being given an enforced sabbatical by the electorate when I lost my seat at the elections in 2014. Undeterred, I returned to the Council in 2018 and became Leader of the Opposition in 2020.
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 other courses at King’s and elsewhere including Public Policy, Parliamentary Studies and Comparative Politics.
My first monograph is due for publication in 2021, and I continue to pursue research interests in British postwar political history, political opposition and the evolving UK constitution.