Immigration, Brexit, and the Restructuring of British Party Competition

26.10.2017 - 15:00 bis 16:30
A 5,6 Raum A 231
Art der Veranstaltung: 
MZES Public Lecture
Prof. Dr. Geoffrey Evans
Zugehörigkeit des Vortragenden: 
University of Oxford, Nuffield College

Studies of political cleavage evolution have often assumed they change glacially. Studies of party competition and issue dimensionality typically treat parties as strategic actors that try to open up or suppress new dimensions of competition to further their electoral interests. This paper takes a different perspective and presents a case study of how political decisions can unintentionally create a new dimension of party competition and in consequence the remarkably swift restructuring of party competition, both ideologically and in terms of the social bases of voting.  It does so via an examination of the consequences of the UK government’s 2004 policy decision on immigration from EU accession countries. The analysis uses data on official immigration rates, and Mori, YouGov and multiple British Election Study cross-section and panel surveys to demonstrate the growing link between EU immigration and Euroscepticism, and the rise of UKIP, leading ultimately to the 2016 EU Referendum, the demise of UKIP, and the restructuring of party competition, both ideologically and socially, in the 2017 General Election.

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