Brexit, the 2017 General Election & British Voters

Room: 
Assembly Room
Time Slot: 
Wednesday 28th March 11:00 - 12:30
Panel Chair: 
  • Ms Neema Begum (University of Bristol)
Panel Members: 
  • Dr Stuart Fox (Cardiff University)
  • Professor John Curtice (University of Strathclyde)
  • Dr Simon Usherwood (University of Surrey)
  • Ms Paula Surridge (University of Bristol)

This panel brings together a series of papers exploring the political values and attitudes of the British electorate in response to Brexit and the recent general election, considering how these events are affecting the priorities and beliefs of voters, and how changes in voters’ attitudes and values have manifested in response to both events. Stuart Fox’s paper begins by looking at the transformation of the academic debate regarding youth electoral participation since the general election, and considers whether the high turnout of young voters in that contest, as well as their overwhelming support for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, is a reflection of the emergence of a new political generation with a distinct political ideology that makes them more likely to vote in support of left-wing parties than young voters in previous elections. His analysis shows that despite their strong support for Labour in 2017, the latest generation of young voters are marked for being typically more right-wing and individualist than their predecessors, suggesting that in terms of at least some of their ideological beliefs, they are at odds with the party they so passionately supported. His conclusions consider the implications of this trend for the future capacity of Britain’s political parties to attract the ‘youth vote’.

Paula Sturridge similarly examines the renewed focus on British voters’ political values in light of Brexit and the general election, and explores how voters’ value positions have evolved in the past 20 years and considers how the relationship between values and social structure on the one hand, and values and political behaviour on the other, have changed in that time. She shows that such values are multi-dimensional, and that ‘social’ and ‘economic’ values, while distinct, interact in shaping political behaviour and voter choices. Finally John Curtice’s paper examines how the British public has reacted to the progression of negotiations between the UK Government and the EU regarding Brexit. He explores how voters’ attitudes towards Brexit have changed in light of their perceptions of the negotiations, and considers the implications of these changes both for their support for Brexit, and for broader debates regarding the use of referendums to resolve complex political decisions and the future of British party politics.