The Constitution Unit


Professor Meg Russell

Meg - staff pic

Position: Professor of British and Comparative Politics and Director of the Constitution Unit
Location: 2.03, 31 Tavistock Square
Telephone: 020 3108 6967 (Internal: 56967)


Meg Russell is Professor of British and Comparative Politics and Director of the Constitution Unit. She first began at UCL as a Senior Research Fellow at the Constitution Unit in August 1998. She leads the Unit's research work on parliament, and has recently completed a period as a Senior Fellow with the ESRC-funded UK in a Changing Europe programme. Meg is particularly known for her work on the British House of Lords, bicameralism, and parliamentary policy influence. She has also conducted recent work on referendums, devolution, and citizens' assemblies. In the past she has written on topics including political party organisation, candidate selection, women's representation in politics and political psychology.

Meg has worked closely with policy makers throughout her career. Before joining UCL she had worked in the House of Commons and for the British Labour Party. In 1999 she was a consultant to the Royal Commission on Reform of the House of Lords and from 2001-03 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, the Select Committee on Reform of the House of Commons ("Wright Committee"), the House of Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) and the Lord Speaker's Committee on the Size of the House (of Lords). She has regularly given evidence to parliamentary committees, both in Britain and overseas.

Meg sits on the editorial boards of the journals Political Quarterly and Parliamentary Affairs. She is also a former Academic Secretary of the Study of Parliament Group.

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 and to Professor in 2014. In 2020 she was elected a Fellow of the British Academy, and in 2021 she was judged Political Studies Association Political Communicator of the Year.


Meg is responsible for most of the Unit's research on parliament, and is known as one of the primary academic experts on the British parliament. As part of her UKICE Fellowship, she was a key commentator on parliament and Brexit. She has closely researched the House of Lords, but also key aspects of the House of Commons, and Commons reform, as well as the devolved legislatures in the UK and other legislatures overseas. Major projects have focused in particular on the extent to which both chambers of the Westminster parliament influence government policy. In comparative politics terms Meg has a particularly strong interest in bicameralism (i.e. two chamber parliaments).

Meg has recently contributed significantly to the Unit's work on referendums and and citizens' assemblies. She has also written in the past on political party organisation, devolution, and women's representation in politics.

Meg's current projects, and recently completed projects, include the following:

Meg has also pursued many previous projects during her years at the Unit. These include:

She also contributed to various Lords reform commentaries during her early years at the Unit, and of course is a regular contributor to the Unit newsletter, Monitor.


    Meg is the author of five books:

    In addition her Fabian pamphlet Must Politics Disappoint? was shortlisted for pamphlet of the year at the Thinktank of the Year awards 2005.

    She is joint editor of:

    She has also written over 25 Constitution Unit reports. Some notable examples include:

    For a complete list of all Meg's publications, and details of her media appearances, see the list below:


    Meg is responsible for the following three modules in the Department:

    She also supervises undergraduate/Masters dissertations and PhD projects in areas related to her research.

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