I am an historian of modern Britain with a particular interest in twentieth century constitutional and party politics.
As a Morrell Scholar at the University of York between 1984 and 1987 I examined the relationship between the work of John Stuart Mill and the arguments used to support campaigns to widen the franchise in nineteenth and twentieth-century Britain.
I was awarded a Research Associateship of the Open University between 1998 and 2001 to examine the determinants of British parties’ attitudes to constitutional reform, and was awarded the PSA’s David Butler Prize in 1998 for research on policy towards electoral reform.
Between 2007 and 2011 the Scurrah Wainwright Trust funded my research into the history of the Liberal Party in the twentieth century, particularly to produce a biography of Richard Wainwright, former MP for the Colne Valley.
Between 2014 and 2015 I undertook a study supported by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust examining the impact upon their image and fortunes of Liberal Democrat MPs at the 2015 general election of their party's participation in government. The findings were published by the University of Birmingham in 2016 as 'Liberalism in Power'.
I continue to write and research on Liberal politics and social history, and to broadcast and teach.