Dr Meg Russell
Dr Meg Russell
- Position: Reader in British and Comparative Politics and Deputy Director of the Constitution Unit
- Telephone:0207 679 4998
- Email: email@example.com
Meg Russell began at UCL as a Senior Research Fellow at the Constitution Unit in August 1998. She is largely responsible for the Unit's research work on parliament, and has a particular interest in bicameralism and the British House of Lords. She has also written on political party organisation, candidate selection and women's representation in politics.
Meg has worked closely with policy makers throughout her career. Before joining the Unit she had worked in parliament and been National Women's Officer of the Labour Party. In 1999 she was a consultant to the Royal Commission on Reform of the House of Lords and from 2001-2003 was seconded as a full time adviser to Robin Cook in his role as Leader of the House of Commons. She has acted as an adviser to the Arbuthnott Commission on boundaries and voting systems in Scotland, the House of Lords Appointments Commission and most recently the Select Committee on Reform of the House of Commons (the "Wright Committee"). She has regularly given evidence to parliamentary committees, both in Britain and overseas.
In 2006 Meg was awarded the Political Studies Association’s Richard Rose prize for contribution by a younger scholar to the study of British politics. She was promoted to Reader in 2008.
In October 2008 Meg began a three year full-time Research Fellowship funded by the ESRC, during which she is pursuing various research and writing projects centred on parliament. Her current research projects focus on:
- The contemporary House of Lords: monitoring members' behaviour, the passage of legislation through the chamber, and prospects for reform. This followed a major ESRC-funded project on the impact of the 1999 reform.
- The policy impact of parliament: through both committees and the legislative process, including:
- The policy impact of House of Commons
select committees: in an innovative project in partnership with the House of
Commons Committee Office.
- The psychology of political elites: more exploratory work on how theories from social psychology may help explain parliamentary behaviour, in particular.
Meg has also pursued many previous project during her years at the Unit. These include:
- The House Rules? Research on new options for the way the House of Commons government itself, which was very influential on the Wright Committee.
- A comparative study of second chambers, to inform the second stage of House of Lords reform.
- Research on parliament and devolution.
- Work on internal organisational reform in the Labour Party, culminating in a book.
- A study of legal mechanisms for promoting women's representation which helped bring about a change in the law to legalise electoral quotas.
Meg is the author of two books:
- Reforming the House of Lords: Lessons from Overseas (OUP, 2000)
- Building New Labour: The Politics of Party Organisation (Palgrave, 2005)
In addition her Fabian pamphlet Must Politics Disappoint? was shortlisted for pamphlet of the year at the Thinktank of the Year awards 2005.
She has also written numerous Constitution Unit reports. Amongst the most important are:
- The House Rules? International lessons for enhancing the autonomy of the House of Commons (with Akash Paun, October 2007)which was very influential on the Wright Committee on reform of the House of Commons.
- Women’s Representation in Politics: What can be done within the Law? Which was similarly influential in bringing about the Sex Discrimination (Election Candidates) Act 2002.
For a complete list of all Meg's publications, and details of her media appearances, see the list below:
- Meg's publication list
Meg is responsible for the following modules in the Department:
- British Government and Politics (Masters module)
- Parliaments, Political Parties and Policy Making (Masters module)
- Gender and Politics (Masters module)
- Gender and Politics (undergraduate module).
The latter three of these are all comparative politics modules.
During the course of her current ESRC Fellowship Meg is not directly teaching any of these modules (i.e. to the end of the academic year 2010-11). However she is available to supervise Masters dissertations and PhD projects in areas related to her research.