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    'Dominance, defence and diminishing returns'? Theresa May’s leadership capital July 2016 to July 2018

    Worthy, Benjamin and Bennister, M. (2021) 'Dominance, defence and diminishing returns'? Theresa May’s leadership capital July 2016 to July 2018. British Politics 16 , pp. 295-316. ISSN 1746-918X.

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    Theresa May’s first two years in office illustrate Anthony King’s (1991) observation that premierships can vary within themselves. Her premiership divides into two distinct phases, before and after the snap general election of June 2017, with a final coda after July 2017 when her premiership unravelled. Whilst the disastrous election looked like the crucial event, analysis using the Leadership Capital Index (LCI) suggests that, contrary to popular assumptions, before the election May was weaker than she appeared and afterwards not quite as diminished as assumed. The LCI analysis we present here (focusing on the year before and the year after the 2017 general election) shows that May’s capital fell, but not as far as presented by prevailing narratives. May went from being, in LCI terms, an ‘exceptional leader’ to a ‘medium capital leader’ facing obstacles, but still capable of action. May’s resilience after 2017 was a result of Brexit, the poor polling of her opponents and her unexpected poll strength, bolstered by the weakness of her internal challengers. Even a poorly positioned prime minister has considerable resources to call upon.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Birkbeck Centre for British Political Life
    Depositing User: Ben Worthy
    Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2019 10:13
    Last Modified: 13 Feb 2024 11:00


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