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Photo: “Boris Johnson 2019 (3),” by David Sedlecký licensed under CC Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International. Hue modified from the original.

Allen, Nicholas, and John Bartle, eds. Breaking the deadlock, (Manchester, England: Manchester University Press, 2021) accessed May 27, 2022,


This book, the latest in the long-running Britain at the Polls series, tells the story of the remarkable 2019 general election and its outcome. As with previous volumes, the book provides general readers, students of British politics and professional political scientists with analyses of key political, economic and social developments, and an assessment of their impact on the election outcome. The book begins with an account of the 2017 Conservative minority government and how parliamentary deadlock thwarted Theresa May’s attempts to deliver on the 2016 Brexit referendum. It then analyses recent developments in the Conservative and Labour parties, as well as longer-term changes in the party system and voters’ values and identities, and how these laid foundations for the election outcome. After explaining why the Conservatives won a decisive majority under Boris Johnson, the book considers both the implications of the electoral realignment exposed by Brexit and the distinctiveness of Britain’s contemporary electoral politics.

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction – Nicholas Allen
  • Chapter 1: Deadlock – Thomas Quinn
  • Chapter 2: The Conservative Party – Paul Whiteley, Patrick Seyd, & Harold D. Clarke
  • Chapter 3: The Labour Party – John Bartle
  • Chapter 4: The two-party system – Maria Sobolowska
  • Chapter 5: A changing electorate – Robert Johns
  • Chapter 6: Why did the Conservatives win? – Jane Green
  • Chapter 7: 2019 – Sarah Birch
  • Appendix

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.