Monday 24 April 2017 at 6pm - Room G, House of Lords, Westminster, London

The Centre for Opposition Studies at the University of Bolton are pleased to invite you to a special event to launch a new partnership between the University of Bolton and the Centre for Opposition Studies. Founded in 2010 to advance the study of political opposition in the UK and overseas,  we are pleased to be holding a special event to mark the beginning of an exciting new partnership.

One of our Honorary Presidents, Lord Kinnock, who led the Labour Party as the Official Opposition from 1983 to 1992, will join the celebrated historian Professor Lord Hennessy in a discussion of the challenges of opposition, drawing on their respective experiences and expertise. The event takes place between the 25th anniversary of the 1992 General Election and the 20th anniversary of the 1997 Labour victory.

It will include reflections on the ups and downs of political life, the importance of providing an effective challenge to the government, and the difficulties of doing so.


Lord Kinnock

Neil Kinnock was born in Tredegar in Wales and educated at University College, Cardiff. The son of a miner and a nurse, he later famously remarked that he was ‘the first Kinnock in a thousand generations’ to go to university.

After working as a tutor at the Workers’ Educational Association, he was elected to Parliament in 1970 for the seat of Bedwellty, and served as parliamentary private secretary to Michael Foot from 1974–75.

He was elected to the Labour Party’s national executive committee in 1978, and following Labour’s defeat in 1979 served as Shadow Education Secretary under the leaderships of James Callaghan and Michael Foot. After the election of 1983, Kinnock was elected leader of the Labour Party at its annual conference, becoming the youngest leader in the party’s history.

Under his stewardship, the Labour Party undertook a significant process of modernisation, of both its organisation and policy platform, with Kinnock leading the fight to expel the Militant tendency and present Labour as a credible alternative government.

Despite losing the 1987 General Election, Labour increased its number of seats, and by 1992 was widely seen as a credible alternative government. When the Conservatives narrowly won a fourth victory, Kinnock stood down as Labour’s leader after nine years.


Professor Lord Hennessy

Peter Hennessy was born in Edmonton in London, and received his first degree from St John’s College, Cambridge. He worked as a journalist for 20 years, including as a leader writer and Whitehall correspondent for the Times, and as lobby correspondent for the Financial Times.

He wrote a regular column for the Independent and was a regular presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Analysis programme. His journalism was defined by a fascination with what he called ‘the hidden wiring of the constitution, and the power of the machinery of government’ in Britain.

He co-founded the Institute of Contemporary British History in 1986, and from 1994 to 1997 gave public lectures as professor of rhetoric at Gresham College, London. Since 1992 he has been based at Queen Mary, University of London, where from 2001 he has been Attlee Professor of Contemporary British history. 

Hennessy’s analysis of post-war Britain, ‘Never Again: Britain 1945–1951’, won the Duff Cooper Prize in 1992 and the NCR Book Award in 1993. His study of Britain in the 1950s and the rise of Harold Macmillan, ‘Having It So Good: Britain in the 1950s’, won the 2007 Orwell Prize for political writing. In 2010, he was appointed to the House of Lords as a non-political crossbench peer, taking the title of Baron Hennessy of Nympsfield.


Monday 24 April 2017 at 6pm - Room G, House of Lords
RSVP: To book a place at the event, please email: or complete the form below:

  • Name