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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)

College: Downing College


Jack Sheldon is an ESRC-funded PhD candidate in the Department of Politics and International Studies. His doctoral research examines how MPs seek to represent sub-state territories such as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the UK House of Commons. 


Before becoming a full-time PhD, he worked for five years as a researcher on British constitutional politics, including with The Constitution Unit at University College London (UCL), the Centre on Constitutional Change at the University of Edinburgh and the Bennett Institute for Public Policy at Cambridge. From January 2018 to August 2020 he was part of the major ESRC-funded project 'Between Two Unions: The Constitutional Future of the Islands after Brexit'. He has been a co-author on several policy reports and academic articles, written many blogs and had his work cited by parliamentary committees and in the media. 



Jack’s PhD examines the extent to which, in what ways and with what consequences MPs seek to represent sub-state territories such as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the UK House of Commons. He applies a mixed-methods approach, combining detailed content analysis of parliamentary records and interviews. His main aims are to document a form of representation that has been largely overlooked in existing academic literature, and to consider what implications this behaviour might have for public policy and for how the nature of the UK's contemporary constitution should be understood.


Research interests: Parliaments; territorial politics; inter-institutional relations; representation; British politics



Key publications: 



'‘A place apart’, or integral to 'our precious Union’? Understanding the nature and implications of Conservative thinking about Northern Ireland, 2010-19’ (with M. Kenny), Irish Political Studies, online advanced access (2020). 


'When Planets Collide: The British Conservative Party and the Discordant Goals of Delivering Brexit and Preserving the Domestic Union, 2016-2019’(with M. Kenny), Political Studies, online advanced access (2020).


'Intergovernmental Relations in the UK: Time for a Radical Overhaul?’ (with N. McEwen, M. Kenny and C. Brown Swan), Political Quarterly 91:3 (2020), pp. 632-640. 


‘An English Parliament: An Idea Whose Time Has Come?’(with M. Russell), in M. Kenny, I. McLean and A. Paun (ed.), Governing England: English Identity and Institutions in a Changing United Kingdom, November 2018.

Reforming Intergovernmental Relations in the United Kingdom (with N. McEwen, M. Kenny and C. Brown Swan), November 2018

Options for an English Parliament (with M. Russell), March 2018


Thesis Title: Substantive representation of sub-state territories in the UK House of Commons.
Supervisor: Professor Michael Kenny
 Jack  Sheldon