Professor Meg Russell
Professor of British and Comparative Politics
- Name: Professor Meg Russell
- Position: Professor of British and Comparative Politics
- Professor Russell will be on sabbatical leave from UCL in term 2, 2014/15.
- Room: B15
- Telephone: 0207 679 4998
- Fax: 0207 679 4978
- 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.
Meg is responsible for most of the Constitution Unit's research on
parliament. She has a particular interest in the British parliament, and
she is known as one of the primary academic experts on the House of
Lords. But she has also researched the House of Commons, and Commons
reform, as well as the devolved legislatures in the UK and other
legislatures overseas. In comparative politics terms she has a
particularly strong interest in bicameralism (i.e. two chamber
parliaments). She has also written on political party organisation and
women's representation in politics.
Meg's current projects, and very recently completed projects, include the following:
- 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.
- An Elaborate Rubber Stamp? The Impact of Parliament on Legislation
- Financial privilege
- Legislative Committees at Westminster: The Case for Reform
Meg has also pursued many previous projects during her years at the Unit. These include:
- The policy impact of House of Commons select committees: in an innovative project in partnership with the House of Commons Committee Office.
- The House Rules? Research on new options for the way the House of Commons governs 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.
- The social psychology of political elites: exploratory work on how theories from social psychology may help explain parliamentary behaviour, in particular.
- 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 responsible for the Department’s postgraduate modules on British Government and Politics, Parliaments, Political Parties and Policy Making and Gender and Politics, and its undergraduate module on Gender and Politics (the latter three all comparative courses). During the course of her Fellowship she is only directly teaching Parliaments, Political Parties and Policy Making, and is available to supervise Masters dissertations and PhD projects in this area.
Responsibilities outside UCL
Meg is the author of three books:
- The Contemporary House of Lords: Westminster Bicameralism Revived (OUP, 2013)
- Building New Labour: The Politics of Party Organisation (Palgrave, 2005)
- Reforming the House of Lords: Lessons from Overseas (OUP, 2000)
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. Key examples include:
- Fitting the Bill: Bringing Commons Legislation Committees into Line with Best Practice (with Bob Morris and Phil Larkin, June 2013)
- Selective Influence: The Policy Impact of House of Commons Select Committees (with Meghan Benton, June 2011)
- 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? (June 2000) 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