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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)

The Antcliffe Lecture was established in 2015 following a donation in the name of John Antcliffe, who studied History at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, before going on to become a respected public relations professional. 

The lecture series focuses on British Politics. You can read more about John Antcliffe, who passed away in March 2010, here.

The 2024 Antcliffe Lecture

The 2024 Antcliffe Lecture on British Politics was delivered by The Rt. Hon. Lord Hague of Richmond on 6 February 2024.

William Hague has been a leading Conservative politician for more than 25 years, including spells as Conservative Party leader (1997-2001) and UK Foreign Secretary (2010-14), and drew on his experience in reflecting on the state of contemporary British politics.

The 2023 Antcliffe Lecture

Has Putin woken up at last?

Wednesday, 17 May at 5.30pm

The 2023 John Antcliffe Memorial Lecture was given by the Rt Hon Lord Robertson in association with Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College.


The Rt. Hon. Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, former Secretary of State for Defence and Secretary-General of NATO spoke at the 2023 Antcliffe Lecture taking a look at the impact of the war in Ukraine and its possible legacies for European cooperation and defence.

Listen to the 2023 Antcliffe Lecture here.

The 2021 Antcliffe Lecture

A United Kingdom? The future of the constitution and the Union

Thursday 13 May 2021 at 5:30 pm

The 2021 Antcliffe Lecture was given by Sir David Lidington, Former Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain

Sir David Lidington talks about 'A United Kingdom? The future of the constitution and the Union'

This year, one week after the Scottish and Welsh parliamentary elections, Sir David Lidington discussed the future of the constitution and the Union. Professor David Runciman will chair the webinar event, which takes the form of a talk followed by a Q&A session. Sir David Lidington served in the House of Commons for nearly 28 years, including more than nine years as a Minister in the governments led by David Cameron and Theresa May. The Antcliffe Lecture, organised by the Department of POLIS at the University of Cambridge is an annual event addressing British politics, and was established following a donation in the name of John Antcliffe, a Cambridge alumnus.

Read Sir David's lecture here

The 2019 Antcliffe Lecture

Thirty Years On: Thatcher, 1989 and the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Wednesday 8th May

The 2019 Antcliffe Lecture was given by Dr  Robert Saunders, Senior Lecturer in Modern British History, Queen Mary, University of London.

Thirty years ago, a tide of revolutions swept through Eastern Europe, triggering the collapse of the Communist bloc, the reunification of Germany and the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Symbolised by the fall of the Berlin Wall, the events of 1989 stirred a heady brew of emotions in the West, ranging from amazement and admiration to fear and trepidation. For Margaret Thatcher, the collapse of communism might have been a moment of triumph; yet her attempts to slow the pace of change put her at odds with other world leaders and out of step with opinion in Britain. Barely a year later, she herself would fall from power. This lecture assesses the role of the 1989 revolutions in the fall of Margaret Thatcher. It explores the hopes and fears that animated Thatcher's response, and asks what this might tell us about Thatcherism, Euroscepticism and the significance of the Cold War in modern British politics.



The 2018 Antcliffe Lecture

A Certain Idea of Britain: Writing the political history of one's own country in one's own times

Thursday 1st March

The 2018 Antcliffe Lecture was given by Lord Peter Hennessy, the Attlee Professor of Contemporary British History at Queen Mary, University of London. 

"As a journalist for over 20 years – with spells on The Times, The Financial Times and The Economist – I unearthed the hidden wiring of the constitution and the power of the machinery of government in Britain.

Those themes remained at the heart of my research and teaching at Queen Mary when I moved from journalism to academia in 1992. Since then, it has been my aim to write the history of my own country, in my own times, for academic and public audiences alike."



The 2017 Antcliffe Lecture

Politics in the Post-Truth Age

Thursday 9th March

A lecture by Baroness Wheatcroft, former editor of The Wall Street Journal Europe and the Sunday Telegraph.

"All issues are political issues and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia." (George Orwell, 1946)

What is new about today's political landscape? As Trump settles into the White House and Britain prepares to exit from Europe, the lecture examines whether there has been a fundamental change in electors and the elected and what the outcome might be.


The 2016 Antcliffe Lecture

Pragmatism versus Populism: Building a winning Labour Project in the age of anti-politics

Tristram Hunt is Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central. From October 2013 until September 2015, Tristram served as Labour's Shadow Education Secretary focusing on developing Labour's policy on teachers' professional development, vocational education and early years education.

Speaking in the aftermath of the General Election results, he called on Labour's ruling National Executive Committee "not to rush our election", saying there was time for a "brutal post-mortem" about Labour's "underlying philosophy and thinking".

The lecture took place on Thursday 28th April in the Winstanley Lecture Theatre at Trinity College and the recording can be viewed below. 


The 2015 Antcliffe Lecture

The inaugural Antcliffe Lecture was given by Lord Michael Howard of Lympne on the subject of "Thatcherism Today".

The lecture took place on Wednesday 11th March at 5.30-6.30pm in the McCrum Lecture Theatre at Corpus Christi College, and included an extended question and answer session with Lord Howard on a wide variety of subjects. 

A recording of the lecture is available to view below, and can also be downloaded through our Streaming Media Service Collection