The Rt. Hon. Lord Howard of Lympne

Honorary Co-President

Michael Howard was Leader of the Opposition and of the Conservative Party from November 2003 to December 2005.  Previously he had served in various roles in Opposition, including Shadow Foreign Secretary and Shadow Chancellor. 

He was a minister in the previous Conservative Government for twelve years, and served in the Cabinets of Margaret Thatcher and John Major.  He was appointed as Employment Secretary in 1990, Environment Secretary in 1992, and was for four years Home Secretary, from 1993 to 1997.  He served as Member of Parliament for Folkestone and Hythe from 1983 until 2010, and became our first Honorary President in September 2008.  After retiring from the Commons he was awarded a peerage and now sits in the House of Lords as Lord Howard of Lympne.



The Rt. Hon. Lord Kinnock

Honorary Co-President

Neil Kinnock was Leader of the Opposition and of the Labour Party from 1983 to 1992.  He was elected to the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party in 1978, and joined the Shadow Cabinet a year later as Education Spokesman. 

Following the Party's defeat in 1983, he was elected to succeed Michael Foot as Leader, a position he held for nine years, leading the Party at two General Elections and bringing it close to victory in 1992. 

After standing down from the Leadership in 1992, he served as one of Britain's European Commissioners between 1995 and 2004, becoming Vice-President of the Commission.  He was Chairman of the British Council from 2004 to 2009, and joined the House of Lords in 2005 as Lord Kinnock of Bedwellty. He was appointed as an Honorary President in October 2008.


ProfessorMohammedAbdel-HaqProf. Mohammed Abdel Haq

Dr Mohammed Abdel-Haq is Chairman of the Centre for Opposition Studies and a Professor in Banking and a Director of the Centre for Islamic Finance at the University of Bolton. 

As well as his academic knowledge, Mohammed has a wealth of practical experience. In a long career in banking in major financial institutions such as Citi, Deutsche Bank and HSBC. Also he is the founding member of Oakstone Merchant Bank. 

Mohammed is active in public life and holds a number of positions, amongst them from 2011-2014 he was an elected member of the Council of the Royal Institute for International Affairs (Chatham House) and a member of the Advisory Board of the Centre for Social Justice. In 2011 Mohammed was appointed Chairman of the UK Ministerial Advisory Group on Extremism in Universities and FE Colleges. He is the author of a book on Islamic finance and wrote several articles on various issues related to public life.  He is also a regular speaker at conferences. 

Mohammed stood as a prospective parliamentary candidate for the Conservative Party in 2005 general election for Swansea West.  He previously Chaired the Advisory Board for the Conservative Middle East Council from 2011-2015.  In March 2013 the UK Government launched the first Islamic Finance Task Force.  Mohammed was one of a small group of non-ministerial industry experts within the Islamic Finance Task Force.


NigelFletcherNigel Fletcher


The founder of the Centre for Opposition Studies is Nigel Fletcher, who was its Executive Director from 2010-2016. Whilst studying for a PhD at King's College London he was struck by the lack of dedicated research on Opposition as an institution, and this led him in 2008 to establish the Opposition Studies Forum, which in 2010 became the Centre for Opposition Studies.

He graduated in Politics from Queen Mary, University of London, where he was awarded the Professor Lord Smith Prize for his dissertation on the Conservative Party in Opposition. He was Special Adviser on Education policy in the Conservative Research Department from 2004 to 2008, serving shadow ministers including David Willetts, David Cameron and Michael Gove.  He was a Councillor in the Royal Borough of Greenwich from 2005-2014, where he served as Deputy Leader of the Opposition.

Advisory Council


Professor Lord Norton of Louth FRSA, AcSS

Lord Norton of Louth (Philip Norton) was appointed Professor of Government at the University of Hull in 1986, and in 1992 also became Director of the Centre for Legislative Studies.

In 1998 he was elevated to the House of Lords as Lord Norton of Louth. From 2001 to 2004 he was Chairman of the House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution, and has been described in The House Magazine - the journal of both Houses of Parliament - as ‘our greatest living expert on Parliament'.




Dr Jane Green

Jane Green lectures on politics at Manchester University, and is an expert on party strategies, issue agendas, policy positions and voting. She was the BBC World Services' election expert for the 2005 and 2010 British General Election nights and makes regular appearances as a political pundit in the media.

She has published work on the campaign strategies of opposition parties, most notably of the British Conservatives in opposition. She is a Board Member of methods@manchester, a Junior Fellow of the British Election Study and an Executive Committee member of the British Politics Group of the American Political Science Association.




Professor Tim Bale MA, PhD

Tim Bale is Professor of politics at Queen Mary, University of London, having previously held the same position at Sussex University, which he joined in 2003.

He graduated from Cambridge University, completed his Masters Degree at Northwestern University in the USA, and his PhD at Sheffield University, where he then lectured for a year.After Sheffield, he taught politics at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand.

Tim is an Official Representative for the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) and, together with Ingrid van Biezen of Birmingham University, is the co-editor of the European Journal of Political Research's annual Political Data Yearbook. His book The Conservative Party from Thatcher to Cameron was published in 2010.



Dr Peter Catterall

Dr Peter Catterall is Professor of History and Policy at the University of Westminster. After a first degree in History at Robinson College, Cambridge Dr Catterall undertook doctoral research in London on the relationship between the Free Churches and the Labour party in inter-war Britain.

Appointed as a research fellow at the Institute of Contemporary British History he produced the award-winning British History 1945-1987: An Annotated Bibliography (Oxford: Blackwell, 1991), before going on to serve as the Institute’s director from 1989-2000.

In 1999-2000 he was also Fulbright-Robertson Professor of British history at Westminster College, Missouri. He was lecturer in History at Queen Mary, University of London until 2012, and also runs the Chevening Scholars ‘Democracy and Public Policy’ programme at the Hansard Society.




Dr Amer Al Sabaileh

Amer Al Sabaileh is a Jordanian academic born and raised in Amman. He graduated from the University of Jordan, has a Masters degree from the University of Rome, and a PhD from the University of Pisa .

He returned to the University of Jordan in 2007 where he currently teaches in the Department of European Languages, and the Department of International studies. Amer is a freelance columnist for the Jordan Times and the Ammon News agency, in both English and Arabic.

He has written widely on international relations, Islam and the Middle East. He blogs at: http://amersabaileh.blogspot.com




Peter Watt

Peter was the General Secretary of the Labour Party from 2005-2007, an eventful period that included the transition of leadership from Tony Blair to Gordon Brown. In January 2010 he published a hard hitting account of his time as General Secretary, entitled ‘Inside Out’.

The book was a highly personal account of the inner workings of the top of the Labour Party through some of its most turbulent times. Peter is now the Director of Child Protection at the NSPCC.

He was formally a Qualified Nurse and before moving to the NSPCC was Chief Executive at Counsel and Care, and Chief Executive of The Campaign Company, a communications consultancy. He is the Chair of the Kingston Foster Carers Association and a lay member of the Kingston Local Safer Children’s Board.




Nazenin Ansari

Nazenin Ansari is an Iranian journalist in exile, working as Managing Editor of Kayhan London, a weekly Persian-language newspaper. She is also Vice-President of the Foreign Press Association in London.

She studied in the USA, and holds a BA in Public Affairs and Government from George Washington University and an MA in International Relations and Comparative Politics from Georgetown University.

She is a regular panelist on BBC News’s Dateline London programme, and provides news analysis about Iran on BBC Radio 4, CNN International, Sky News and Al-Jazeera. She also contributes to the OpenDemocracy website.




Professor Ken Young FRHistS, AcSS

Ken Young was appointed Professor of Public Policy at King's College London in 2005. He was educated at the London School of Economics and taught there and at the Universities of Kent, Bristol and Cambridge before joining the Policy Studies Institute in 1980.

He was appointed Professor and Director of the Institute of Local Government Studies at the University of Birmingham in 1987 and came to London in 1990 as the Head of the Department of Politics at Queen Mary and Westfield College.

Ken has served as adviser to the House of Commons Select Committee on Environment and as adviser and research director to the Committee of Inquiry into the Conduct of Local Authority Business.

From 2000 to 2005 he was Director of the ESRC UK Centre for Evidence Based Policy and Practice and currently serves as an adviser to the Centre for Good Governance, India. Ken is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and an Academician of the Academy for Learned Societies in the Social Sciences.