From Opposition to Government - Major event on how parties make the transition to office, hosted in association with the Institute for Government

Date: 3rd February 2010
Venue: Centre for Opposition Studies

A timely seminar looking at the experience of parties making the transition from Opposition to Government. 

It was jointly hosted with the Institute for Government, who had recently published a major report on transitions to government as part of an ongoing research project (details here).

The event featured contributions from:

  • The Rt. Hon. Francis Maude MP (now Lord Maude of Horsham), then Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office, who was leading the Conservative Party's work on preparations for government.
  • Peter Riddell, Chief Political Commentator of The Times and Senior Fellow of the Institute for Government (later its Director), who led the Institute's research project on Transitions.
  • Ed Owen, who as Special Adviser to Jack Straw from 1997 to 2005 experienced Labour's transition from Opposition to Government
  • Dr. Catherine Haddon, Research Fellow at the Institute for Government, who worked with Peter Riddell on the Transitions project.




Leaders of the Opposition: From Churchill to Cameron

Date: Friday, 9th July 2010
Venue: Centre for Opposition Studies

Contributors included: Dr Timothy Heppell, Professor Kevin Theakston, Professor Lord Norton, Dr Tim Bale and Dr Mark Garnett

This conference, which we supported, was organised by Leeds University's Leaders, Parties and Institutions Research Group and the Political Studies Association's specialist group on political leadership.  It considered the performance of each of the leaders of the opposition from Winston Churchill to David Cameron, with a range of distinguished academics presenting papers evaluating each leader against set criteria of effective opposition leadership.  Contributors included our Advisory Board members Professor Lord Norton and Dr Tim Bale, as well as our Director, Nigel Fletcher.

Full details of contributors and other information can be found at:



How to be in Opposition” Booklaunch and seminar

Date: February/March 2011


Our book How to be in Opposition was published by Biteback in 2011, and combined first-hand accounts of the challenges of life in the political shadows with detailed analysis of its opportunities and vital importance. Edited by Nigel Fletcher, it features chapters by Neil Kinnock, Gillian Shephard, Guy Black, Tim Bale, Philip Cowley and Greg Rosen.

The launch event took place in Westminster, with speeches by Baroness Royall of Blaisdon (then the Labour Leader of the Opposition in the House of Lords), and political journalist and commentator Bruce Anderson.  A round-table discussion with a number of the book’s contributors was also held to discuss the issues raised.