British Politics: A Very Short Introduction (2nd edition)

Tony Wright
Pub date
May 2013
Very Short Introductions
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  • An accessible, concise introduction to British politics
  • Written by a former MP and academic, including illustrative experience as well as theoretical and historical expertise
  • Focuses on what makes British politics distinctive
  • Considers the evolution of British politics and its future

New to this Edition:

  • Considers the evolution and impact of coalition politics in Britain
  • Includes updates on the impact of issues such as immigration and terrorism, parliamentary scandal, and the financial crash
  • Considers the evolution of devolution
  • Looks at the fall of New Labour, the arrival of David Cameron, and the concept of 'big society' thinking
  • Explores the future of British politics in light of the current government
  • Updated further reading section

Tony Wright's Very Short Introduction to British Politics is an interpretative essay on the British political system, rather than an abbreviated textbook on how it currently works. He identifies key characteristics and ideas of the British tradition, and investigates what makes British politics distinctive, while emphasizing throughout how these characteristics are reflected in the way the political system functions. Each chapter is organized around a key theme, such as the constitution or political accountability, which is first established and then explored with examples and illustrations. 

In this new edition Wright considers how the system has recently changed and continues to do so, in light of the coalition government and the fall of New Labour, as well as the impact of the financial crisis and issues such as terrorism and immigration. 


1: The Britishness of British politics
2: The constitution: old and new
3: Arguing: the political conversation
4: Governing: the strong centre?
5: Representing: is the party over?
6: Accounting: heckling the steamroller?
7: The end of British politics?
References and further reading

About the author: 

Tony Wright, Professorial Fellow in the Department of Politics at Birkbeck College, University of London
Tony Wright was a Member of Parliament for Cannock Chase from 1997 to 2010. He is now Professorial Fellow in the Department of Politics at Birkbeck College, University of London, where he is working on the development of the new Centre for the Study of British Politics and Public Life.

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