British Government

The details
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 5
Monday 17 January 2022
Friday 25 March 2022
11 May 2021


Requisites for this module



Key module for

LLB ML14 Law with Politics (Including Year Abroad),
LLB ML15 Law with Politics (Including Placement Year),
LLB ML16 Law with Politics,
LLB ML26 Law with Politics (Including Foundation Year)

Module description

This module examines the changing UK political system over the last twenty years. It charts the fall and apparent rise again of the Westminster Model of majoritarian democracy. The module considers developments such as devolution, Britain`s relationship with the EU, House of Lords reform and the party system.

Module aims

• To provide students with a comprehensive knowledge of the UK political system;
• to demonstrate to students how the British political system has changed over time;
• to provide students with the foundations for studying more specialised and advanced modules in British politics in subsequent years;
• to develop the key skills required for the successful study of political science.

Module learning outcomes

• Have a familiarity with the historical background and development of British government and politics, including its relationship with the European Union;
• Have an understanding of the British political system and its main institutions – constitution, executive, parliament, local government and courts;
• Comprehend the relationship between government institutions and Britain’s cultural and social attributes;
• Have an understanding of the main theories used to explain British politics.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered with (i) a weekly pre-recorded lecture and (ii) a weekly interactive lecture. The pre-recorded lecture will consist of one or more items of prepared content that students can access electronically and must study before the interactive lecture. The interactive lecture will consist of one 50-minute lecture in which students can ask questions about, and discuss various aspects of, the prepared content with the module supervisor.


  • Russell, Meg; Gover, Daniel; Wollter, Kristina. (2016) 'Does the Executive Dominate the Westminster Legislative Process?: Six Reasons for Doubt', in Parliamentary Affairs. vol. 69 (2) , pp.286-308
  • Wilford, Rick. (2015) 'Two Cheers for Consociational Democracy? Reforming the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive', in Parliamentary Affairs. vol. 68 (4) , pp.757-774
  • Flinders, Matthew. (2005) 'Majoritarian Democracy in Britain: New Labour and the Constitution', in West European Politics. vol. 28 (1) , pp.61-93
  • Quinn, Thomas. (2013) 'From Two-Partism to Alternating Predominance: The Changing UK Party System, 1950-2010', in Political Studies. vol. 61 (2) , pp.378-400
  • Bogdanor, Vernon. (2009) The new British constitution, Oxford: Hart Pub.
  • Bogdanor, V. (2010) 'The West Lothian Question', in Parliamentary Affairs. vol. 63 (1) , pp.156-172
  • (no date) The Political Quarterly. vol. 87 (3)
  • Russell, Meg. (2010) 'A Stronger Second Chamber? Assessing the Impact of House of Lords Reform in 1999 and the Lessons for Bicameralism', in Political Studies. vol. 58 (5) , pp.866-885
  • Judge, D. (2004) 'Whatever Happened to Parliamentary Democracy in the United Kingdom?', in Parliamentary Affairs. vol. 57 (3) , pp.682-701
  • (no date) The Political Quarterly. vol. 86 (2)

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Essay 1   25/03/2022  50% 
Coursework   Essay 2  06/05/2022  50% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof John Bartle, email: jbartl@essex.ac.uk.
Professor John Bartle
Module Supervisor: Professor John Bartle -(bartl@essex.ac.uk) / / Module Administrator: Lewis Olley - (govquery@essex.ac.uk)



External examiner

Dr Mohammed Rodwan Abouharb
University College London
Available via Moodle
Of 486 hours, 20 (4.1%) hours available to students:
466 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

Disclaimer: The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its Module Directory is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to programmes, modules, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to modules may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery or assessment of modules and other services, to discontinue modules and other services and to merge or combine modules. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications and module directory.

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