Ministers or Ministries? the Impact and Interplay of Parties and Government Departments On Immigration Policy: A Case Study of the UK Coalition Government

Wednesday, June 26, 2013
2.13 (Binnengasthuis)
Tim Bale , Politics, Queen Mary, University of London
James Hampshire , University of Sussex
In Europe, immigration policy is often made by coalition governments in which ministerial portfolios are divided between two or more parties. This raises an intriguing question about how party political dynamics interact with functional imperatives and departmental cultures in policymaking. This paper examines the interaction and the relative importance of party political ministers and ministries composed of actors who, while non-partisan, are nonetheless likely to have developed a strong sense of the role their department is supposed to play.  Taking the UK coalition government as a case study, the paper examines firstly, the way in which the British Conservative Party’s immigration policy made it into the programme of the coalition which the Party formed with the Liberal Democrats in May 2010 and, secondly, at how words were then – sometimes with considerable difficulty and no little dispute – turned into deeds.  We select this case because it supplies us with an issue that clearly divided the two parties in question before the election but also divided the senior partner in the new coalition – the Conservatives – from the (Labour) government it replaced.
  • HampshireBaleCES2013.pdf (425.1 kB)