Accessibility statement

Ben Whisker


Title of Research:

'Explaining departures from New-Right ideology in Conservative Party policy-making under Thatcher's leadership, 1975-1990: the role of institutional and electoral considerations'.

Brief overview of research topic:

Existing academic and popular interpretations rightly recognise the importance of ideological forces in shaping the policy decisions of the Conservative Party during Margaret Thatcher’s leadership. This research advances the perspective that the pre-eminence of ideology in accounts of Thatcherism should prompt us to seek explanations for policy areas where the Conservatives' approach under Thatcher diverged from the ideological agenda of the New Right. It is contended that policy-making in the areas of macroeconomic policy, health and defence varied significantly from the course one might have expected given the centrality of ideology to Thatcher’s leadership. The thesis argues that electoral and institutional constraints explain why Conservative politicians did not adhere to ideological objectives in these areas. The thesis also specifies the conditions which affected the relative significance of ideological, electoral and institutional considerations.

 Ben successfully completed his PhD in December 2020.




2016-20: Doctor of Philosophy in Politics, University of York

2015-16: Master of Arts in Political Research (Distinction), University of York

2012-15: Bachelor of Arts in History, First Class, University of Oxford


Economic and Social Research Council 1+3 studentship

Publications / conferences

Peer-Reviewed Research Articles
Whisker, B. (2021). The Conservative Party, Concerted Action and the West German economic model 1975-1981. Contemporary British History. [Published Online Ahead of Print, 18 March 2021]. DOI URL:
Buller, J. and Whisker, B. (2020). Inter-Organisational Distrust and the Political Economy of Central Bank Independence in the UK. New Political Economy. [Published Online Ahead of Print, 20 May 2020]. DOI URL:
Book Review
Whisker, B. (2017). Book Review: Patrick Diamond, The Crosland Legacy: The Future of British Social Democracy. Political Studies Review, 15(4), pp. 659-660. 


Conference Papers

Whisker, B. (2018). 'The Conservative Party and the West German economic model', paper presented to a workshop of the Political Studies Association's Conservatism Studies Group. 14-15 June 2018. Edinburgh.
Buller, J. and Whisker, B. (2018). ‘Central Bank Governance and the 'Performative Turn': the changing role of the Bank of England in British political economy’, paper presented to the ‘The political economy of fairness and finance’ panel at the 68th Political Studies Association Annual International Conference. 26-28 March 2018. Cardiff.
Whisker, B. and Ron, T. (2018). ‘Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May: contrasting approaches to political leadership and economic management’, paper presented to ‘Thatcherism Now’, 2nd Thatcher Network Annual Conference. 5-6 April 2018. Liverpool.
Engagement outputs
Buller, J., Evemy, J. and Whisker, B. (2021). Written Evidence (QEI0013) submitted on Quantitative Easing. Economic Affairs Committee of the House of Lords. [Online]. Available at:

Whisker, B. (2021). Written Evidence (FTP0022) submitted on the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act. Joint Committee on the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act. [Online]. Available at:

Whisker, B. and Buller, J. (2020). COVID-19 and the Bank of England. 28 May 2020. SPERI blog. [Online]. Available at:


Introduction to Democratic Politics (2019-20)

Ben Whisker profile image

Ben was supervised by Dr Jim Buller and Dr Sandra Leon

Contact details

Dr Ben Whisker