The Constitution Unit


Dr Tom Fleming

Dr Tom Fleming

Position: Lecturer in British and Comparative Politics
Location: 3.01, 31Tavistock Square
Telephone: 020 3108 1879 (Internal: 51879)
Email: tom.fleming@ucl.ac.uk 


Tom Fleming is a Lecturer in British and Comparative Politics. He joined the Constitution Unit in September 2021. His research largely focuses on parliament, but he has also written on a number of other topics including cabinet reshuffles and constitutional reform processes. Tom has provided evidence to several recent parliamentary inquiries in the UK.

Before joining UCL, Tom was a Lecturer in the Department of Politics at the University of York between 2020 and 2021. Prior to that, he completed a doctorate in Politics at the University of Oxford.


Tom’s research focuses largely on legislative politics, from both a British and comparative perspective.

His recent work has focused particularly on understanding how parliamentary rules are chosen and reformed. As part of this research agenda, Tom is currently leading the ESRC-funded project 'The Politics of Parliamentary Procedure'. He also jointly runs the ParlRulesData project, which collects and publishes data on formal parliamentary rules in the UK and beyond. Tom’s doctorate explored how legislative politics might be changed by voters’ waning attachments to political parties.

Beyond this, Tom has also written on a range of other related topics. In particular, his recent projects have explored the government’s power to prorogue parliament, the Johnson government’s proposals for establishing a Constitution, Democracy, and Rights Commission, and the causes and consequences of cabinet reshuffles.


Tom is co-teaching two undergraduate modules in the academic year 2023/24: British Politics and Introduction to Politics.

Blog Posts

Recall petitions: process, consequences, and potential reforms

A recall petition is currently open in Wellingborough, which could lead to MP Peter Bone being recalled by his constituents, followed by a by-election. This is the fifth such petition in as many years. Tom Fleming outlines how the UK’s recall system works, summarises its effects to date, and outlines possible areas for reform. How […]

Scrutinising delegated legislation: what can Westminster learn from other parliaments?

Recent years have seen increasing expressions of concern about whether the UK Parliament has adequate procedures for scrutinising delegated legislation. In a recent article in Political Quarterly, Tom Fleming and Tasneem Ghazi explore the lessons which might be learned from how other parliaments approach that challenge. This blog summarises those lessons. There is wide concern about […]

How far did parliament influence Brexit legislation?

Parliament’s role in the Brexit process has been the subject of widespread controversy among politicians, commentators, and experts. This makes it important to understand exactly what kind of influence parliament wielded in that period. Tom Fleming and Lisa James shed new light on this question by summarising their recent article, Parliamentary Influence on Brexit Legislation, […]

What happened to the Constitution, Democracy and Rights Commission?

The 2019 Conservative Party manifesto promised to appoint a Constitution, Democracy and Rights Commission to conduct a wide-ranging constitutional review. In practice, this promise has not been delivered. Tom Fleming and Petra Schleiter discuss this by summarising their recent article about the Commission, Radical departure or opportunity not taken? The Johnson government’s Constitution, Democracy and […]

The House of Lords amendment to the Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Bill returns appropriate power to MPs: they should accept it

The House of Lords has amended the government’s Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Bill to require House of Commons approval for early general elections. Tom Fleming and Meg Russell explore what MPs should consider when the bill returns to the Commons. They argue that the Lords amendment deserves support, as it provides an important limit […]

Should the government be able to suspend parliament?

  Petra Schleiter and Thomas Fleming examine the power to prorogue parliament. They outline the legal basis of prorogation, survey how it is used in the UK and other Westminster systems, and discuss how the UK could reform its prorogation process.   The UK government has the power to suspend parliament, in a process known as prorogation. Prorogation is […]