The Death of May’s Law: Intra- and Inter-Party Value Differences in Britain’s Labour and Conservative Parties

Alan Wager*, Tim Bale, Philip Cowley, Anand Menon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Party competition in Great Britain increasingly revolves around social or ‘cultural’ issues as much as it does around the economic issues that took centre stage when class was assumed to be dominant. We use data from surveys of members of parliament, party members and voters to explore how this shift has affected the internal coalitions of the Labour and Conservative Parties – and to provide a fresh test of ‘May’s Law’. We find a considerable disconnect between ‘neoliberal’ Conservative members of parliament and their more centrist voters on economic issues and similarly significant disagreement on cultural issues between socially liberal Labour members of parliament and their more authoritarian voters. We also find differences in both parties between parliamentarians and their grassroots members, albeit that these are much less pronounced. May’s Law, not for the first time, appears not to be borne out in reality.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPOLITICAL STUDIES
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Conservative Party
  • intra-party politics
  • Labour Party
  • political values
  • realignment

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