The United Kingdom Referendum on European Union Membership: The Voting of Conservative Parliamentarians

in (2017) Journal of Common Market Studies. (With A. Crines and T. Heppell)

The link to the final, published version of this article can be found here, but for those who do not have access you can access the pre-publication version here.

This article considers the attitudes of members of the parliamentary Conservative Party (PCP) during the European Union membership referendum held in the United Kingdom on 23 June 2016.

First, the article identifies the voting positions – remain or leave – of each Conservative parliamentarian in order to assess the strength of opinion within the PCP and place it within its historical context. Second, the article uses multivariate analysis to test a series of hypotheses about the voting of Conservative parliamentarians.

Through this we will aim to identify whether any associations existed between advocates and opponents of Brexit and social variables such as age, schooling, university, occupation and gender; political variables such as constituency marginality, and whether they were a minister, an ex‐minister or a permanent backbencher; and the ideological variable of morality – such as support for or opposition to same sex marriage.

This article is interesting because we find that there was a wider ideological dimension within the PCP to advocating Brexit – social conservatives were more likely to advocate Brexit than social liberals. This group of hard Eurosceptics and social conservatives formed the base of anti-Cameronite sentiment within the PCP. Our research confirms that this anti-Cameronite socially conservative and Euro-rejectionist grouping had increased from 50 or 16% of the 2010 to 2015 PCP, to 82 or 25% in the 2015-PCP.

This was my first co-authored article, and the first of a very fruitful partnership with Dr Andrew Crines (University of Liverpool) and Dr Tim Heppell (University of Leeds).

Published by David Jeffery

I am a Lecturer in British Politics at the University of Liverpool. I hold a PhD from Queen Mary University of London, which focused on the causes of Conservative electoral decline in Liverpool, from 1945 onwards.

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