PSA Awards: the public, academics, media, culture and politicians who have shaped an extraordinary year in politics.

  • RT Hon David Gauke MP awarded Politician of the Year
  • RT Hon Hilary Benn MP awarded Parliamentarian of the Year.
  • Luciana Berger MP and RT Hon Anna Soubry MP are both awarded Political Courage
  • RT Hon John Bercow awarded Lifetime Achievement in Politics
  • Sir David Attenborough and Extinction Rebellion are both awarded Campaigner of the Year
  • Leo Varadkar TD recognised with International Recognition award
  • Emma Vardy awarded Journalist of the Year
  • Andrew Neil awarded Broadcaster of the Year


The 2019 Political Studies Association (PSA) Awards ceremony, held last night in Church House Westminster, celebrated those on the front lines in the battle for democracy and social justice. Each of the award winners, be they politicians, campaigners, journalists and individuals have inspired us through their unwavering political courage, pursuit for the truth and above all their commitment to the democratic process. 


The PSA is pleased to announce the following awards:


RT Hon David Gauke MP is awarded Politician of the Year. Facing 2019’s political hurdles with quiet grit and determination, David Gauke principled stances have served to inspire others to put country before career, earning him the respect both of his colleagues and the wider general public.


RT Hon Hilary Benn MP is awarded Parliamentarian of the Year. The award recognises Hilary Benn’s tenacity which led to the outlawing of a no-deal Brexit, through the passing of the law to which he put his name. As chair of the Exiting the EU Select Committee, he has successfully held government ministers to account, both to the public and to Parliament.


Luciana Berger MP and RT Hon Anna Soubry MP both receive the PSA award for Political Courage. In the face of sustained anti-Semitic abuse and attacks on her political views, Luciana Berger has shown immense courage and determination. PSA members have also nominated RT Hon Anna Soubry MP for her courage and commitment as a parliamentarian, upholding her values in the face tough personal and professional decisions.  


RT Hon John Bercow is awarded the Lifetime Achievement in Politics award. Recognising the exceptional progress made in modernising Parliament and in increasing its accessibility to the public, the PSA recognises John Bercow’s advocacy and hard work both in Parliament and its processes.


Sir David Attenborough and Extinction Rebellion are both awarded Campaigner of the Year. For Sir David Attenborough, the PSA recognises and celebrates his determined campaign to raise awareness of humanity’s impact on the planet and its natural environment. Whilst he has always been a compelling voice for the natural world, it has been his most recent work on climate change that the jury believes deserves to be highlighted for recognition. The award for Extinction Rebellion also recognises the phenomenal impact the campaign has had over the last twelve months, drawing international attention and adding a sense of urgency on the issue of climate change and the sixth great mass extinction facing the Earth.


Leo Varadkar TD is recognised with the PSA’s International Recognition award. He has impressed and inspired by representing and upholding the principles of diversity and inclusion in public life.


Emma Vardy is awarded Journalist of the Year by our judges. Emma Vardy has shown dedication and courage in chasing the truth as BBC Ireland Correspondent. The PSA jury were especially impressed with her bravery in confronting Saoradh, regarded as the political wing of the New IRA, regarding the murder of journalist Lyra McKee.


The BBC’s Andrew Neil is awarded Broadcaster of the Year. The award recognises the consistent quality of Andrew Neil’s political broadcasting output for the BBC and his peerless and forensic interviewing of politicians and individuals over the last year. 


Carolyn Harris MP and Alison Thewliss MP are both awarded Backbencher of the Year award. Carolyn Harris MP has been recognised for her call for a Children’s Funeral Fund (CFF), which was borne from personal experience and implemented this year. The award for Alison Thewliss MP recognises her campaign to scrap the “rape clause” from the government’s benefits policy. Nominations described her as an MP who is deeply concerned with what justice and equality really mean on the ground”.


RT Hon Norman Lamb MP is awarded the PSA’S Best Use of Evidence award. Norman Lamb’s tireless and sustained campaigning for evidence-based drug policy in the UK and his sponsorship of Evidence Week in Parliament in 2018 and 2019 were felt by members to be of recognition.


This year the Political Podcast of the Year award goes to Bellingcat and is accepted by its founder Eliot Higgins. An award-winning investigative collective that has led the way in online, open source investigative journalism, the Bellingcat podcast on Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 was chosen for its humanity, tenacity and painstaking detail. An incredible podcast which demonstrates investigative journalism at its best, whilst also being engaging and expertly produced.


Lisa McGee is awarded the PSA’s Contribution to the Arts and Culture Award for the sitcom Derry Girls. Highly praised by viewers and critics alike, the judges were keen to recognise Derry Girls and its writer Lisa McGee for being able to convey the impact of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, and the importance of peace in a highly accessible (and hilarious) way.


Professor Carole Pateman is awarded the Sir Isaiah Berlin Award for Lifetime Contribution to Political Studies. Through her ground-breaking work on political theory, Professor Carole Pateman’s academic analysis and engagement as a woman in a male dominated profession forged a path for a generation of female academics. Her professional leadership, spanning the globe from Australia, the U.S. and the U.K. continues to set a pace a few can match.


Dr Katy Hayward is awarded the PSA’s Political Studies Communicator. The judges selected Dr Hayward for her accessible communications on the topic of Northern Ireland and Brexit. Dr Katy Hayward is a sought-after media speaker, following her work spanning twenty years, studying the impact of the EU on the Irish border and peace process.


Finally, Dr Angela O’Hagan is awarded for her tireless efforts in informing the public on how gender shapes decisions on budgets and hence people’s lives. PSA members describe her as “a wonderful academic and campaigner.”


The Political Studies Association is the UK’s leading learned society dedicated to supporting and promoting the study and public understanding of Politics. We are a charity (registration number 1071825) and have a membership from right across academia, education, policy-making and thought-leadership.  The PSA will celebrate its 70th anniversary in 2020.




Notes to editors


The Political Studies Association is the UK’s leading learned society dedicated to supporting and promoting the study and public understanding of Politics. We are a charity (registration number 1071825) and have a membership from right across academia, education, policy-making and thought-leadership.  The PSA will celebrate its 70th anniversary in 2020.


For further information or follow-up enquiries please contact our communications and media team on


For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:


Mobile: 07469 191541


Twitter: @PolStudiesAssoc