Exciting politics events at Canterbury Christ Church University in autumn 2017

The Politics and International Relations Programme is excited to invite you to three events with exciting and distinguished speakers coming to Canterbury Christ Church University this autumn. All events are open to the public and free to attend (N.B.: booking is required for the lectures by Professor A.C. Grayling and The Rt Hon John Bercow).

If you cannot make it, both the lecture by Professor A.C. Grayling and the event with Rosie Duffield MP will be live-streamed via our Facebook Page facebook.com/PoliticsandIRatCCCU/ and later made available on our YouTube channel. You can also follow us for updates on Twitter @CCCUPoliticsIR and @CCCUCEFEUS.


CCCU Politics Staff lead discussions on federalism in Myanmar

Dr Soeren Keil, Reader in Politics and IR, and PhD Candidate Paul Anderson have recently spent just over two weeks in Myanmar leading discussions on debates on federalism. Working with a number of international organisations, including the Hanns Seidel Foundation and Democracy Reporting International, as well as a number of local organisations, Paul and Soeren, alongside other international experts, led and facilitated a number of discussions on the multifaceted topic of federalism, a key pillar of Myanmar’s peace process.

In the first week, Paul and Soeren spent five days with the Union Civil Service Board, working on the topic ‘Federalism and Decentralisation’. This course, part of the Civil Service’s wider training programme for executive civil servants, introduced the participants to the topic of federalism and decentralisation, as well as more detailed and Myanmar context specific discussions. Senior Civil servants learned about a variety of aspects of federal political systems and participated in a number of presentations which applied this theoretical knowledge to the case of Myanmar.

The second and third workshops, held in Taunggyi, Shan State, and Yangon, continued debates on federalism, but this time included MPs, members of the ethnic armed organisations, civil society actors and political party activists. Joined by other international experts, these discussions focused on a number of key topics in Myanmar, such as ‘self-determination and secession’, ‘constitutional amendment procedures’ and ‘dispute resolution mechanisms’.

Despite having debated federalism for over two weeks, the federalism fun continues. On Sunday 13 August, CCCU’s politics summer school ‘Federalism, Multinationalism and the Future of Europe’ will kick off, with the participation of a number of students from a range of countries including France, Germany, Myanmar, Nepal, the USA and the UK. The summer school, now in its fifth edition at CCCU, will feature lectures from a range of international scholars covering both theoretical and empirical topics, as well as a field trip to the Houses of Parliament. On the same day (13 August), Dr Soeren Keil will speak in the Myanmar Parliament as part of a wider expert consultation on Myanmar’s transition process. This event is organised by the government of Myanmar and Soeren has been requested an international expert on federalism.

Public lecture: A post-liberal age? Brexit, Trump & the shape of Western politics


On Wednesday, 8 February, we are hosting Dr Adrian Pabst (University of Kent & Res Publica) as part of our politics open lecture series with a talk titled “A post-liberal age? Trump, Brexit & the shape of Western politics”.

The event is free of charge with no registration necessary and will take place in Room Og32 in Old Sessions House, North Holmes Road, CT11QU, Canterbury Christ Church University.

The New Prime Minister Should Appear Before The House Commons Liaison Committee As Soon As Possible Say Researchers

Dr Mark Bennister (Canterbury Christ Church University), Dr Alexandra Kelso (University of Southampton) and Dr Phil Larkin (University of Canberra) have published a report on the House of Commons Liaison Committee and its role in guaranteeing prime ministerial accountability. While most public attention is focused on Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQ), Liaison Committee sessions with the Prime Minister have remained mostly under the radar. These sessions have operated since 2002, questioning three successive Prime Ministers. The research focuses on the process of significant institutional learning the Committee has undergone over the course of these sessions. The report comes after a yearlong research project led by Dr Bennister and funded by the Nuffield Foundation. The publication of the report was supported by Canterbury Christ Church University and the University of Southampton.

The report made several recommendations including:

  • The sessions should occur more often than 3 times a year and produce a report on the sessions.
  • The Prime Minister should be called before the Committee at the start of each session to answer questions on the programme for government as set out in the Queen’s Speech.
  • A new mid-term Prime Minister should appear before the Committee as early as possible after becoming prime minister.
  • Members of the Committee should be encouraged to ask shorter more succinct questions to the Prime Minister.
  • The Committee should shape the substance of the sessions on decision-making at the heart of government. If the sessions are to shed light on areas of prime ministerial responsibility, a stronger focus on how decisions were formulated would be illuminating.

The full report is available for download here:
Questioning the Prime Minister:
How effective is the Liaison Committee?


The research was the subject of a workshop at the Institute for Government in July. The event included a panel discussion with Lord Beith (Chair of Liaison Committee 2010-2015), Andrew Dismore AM Greater London Assembly (Former MP and Liaison Committee member 2005-2010) and Hannah White (Institute for Government). Dr Ben Worthy (Birkbeck) chaired the discussion.

The research was featured in BBC Radio 4 Today in Westminster broadcast on 8 July and available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07j7pdm


EcoPeace in Jordan on the agenda in Parliament


Dr Mark Bennister, Reader in Politics at Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU), met with Khalifeh Ad-Dayyet, Mayor of the Deir Alla region of Jordan on 15 September. Dr Bennister arranged for the Mayor to visit Parliament, aided by the CCCU Politics alumna Bronwen Edwards in the office of Barry Gardiner MP. The Mayor is travelling to the UK to raise awareness of sustainable development peace building initiatives he is leading in the Jordan Valley as part of EcoPeace (formerly Friends of the Earth Middle East). Continue reading “EcoPeace in Jordan on the agenda in Parliament”