British Government and Politics - JN302

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Canterbury Spring
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4 15 (7.5) DR B Cocking
Medway Spring
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4 15 (7.5) DR B Cocking




Closed to exchange and short term students.



This module provides an overview of the British political system, focusing on recent political and constitutional developments. It will investigate topics such as the roles of Parliament, the Prime Minister and Cabinet, political parties, and the electoral system. It will assess key issues facing democratic government and institutions within the UK, analysing for example the role of Europe, the challenges posed by devolution, the Treasury and the National Health Service. There will also be discussion of contemporary political behaviour, including the issue of political participation.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 24
Private Study Hours: 126
Total Study Hours: 150


Spring term

Method of assessment

Essay (2,000 words) 40%
Seminar presentation - 20%
Examination: two hours - 40%

Indicative reading

Jones, B, 2010, Dictionary of British Politics, 2nd edn, Manchester University Press, Manchester
Jones, B and Norton, P, 2010, Politics UK, 7th edn, Pearson, Harlow
Judge, D, 2005, Political Institutions in the United Kingdom, Oxford University Press, Oxford
Kavanagh, D, et al., 2006, British Politics, 5th edition, Oxford University Press, Oxford
Leach, R, Coxall, B and Robins, L, 2011, British Politics, 2nd edn, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke
Moran, M, 2011, Politics and Governance in the UK, 2nd edn, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke
Morrison, J, 2013, Essential Public Affairs for Journalists. 3rd edn. Oxford University Press, Oxford
Peele, G, 2004, Governing the UK. British Politics in the 21st Century, 4th edn. Blackwell, Oxford

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

1. Have an understanding of the basic principles of the British constitution, the functions of Britain's national political institutions and their role in delivering accountable and representative outcomes.
2. Have an understanding of the electoral process, comparative electoral systems and the key issues facing electoral participation in a modern democracy.
3. Have an appreciation of the advantages and disadvantages of the "Westminster model".
4. Be familiar with how a range of approaches can be used to investigate how British political systems work, and with what success.
5. Have an understanding of the structure and financing of public services including the National Health Service, and social services.
6. Understand the development and principles of British democracy and constitution in the era of universal suffrage.

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