photo of Paul Webb

Prof Paul Webb

Post:Professor of Politics (Politics)

Telephone numbers
Internal:7796 or 8578
UK:01273 877796 or 01273 678578
International:+44 1273 877796 or +44 1273 678578

Research expertise:
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Paul Webb (BA Nottingham 1977-1980, MSc London School of Economic 1980-1982, PhD European University Institute 1983-1986) is Professor of Politics at the University of Sussex, and has held a number of previous and visiting positions in Britain and abroad, including at the Australian National University. He is an elected Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

His research interests focus on representative democracy, particularly party and electoral politics. He is author or editor of numerous publications, including:

  • The Modern British Party System (Sage Publications, 2000), 2nd edition forthcoming with Oxford University Press.
  • Political Parties in Advanced Industrial Societies (Oxford University Press, 2002, with David Farrell and Ian Holliday)
  • The Presidentialization of Politics: A Comparative Study of Modern Democracies (Oxford University Press, 2005, with Thomas Poguntke - revised edition 2007).

His most recent book is Gender and the Conservative Party: From Iron Ladies to Kitten Heels (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011, with Sarah Childs) . He is currently co-editor of the journal Party Politics and a former editor of Representation (1999-2007). He has regularly contributed to media coverage of politics, especially for BBC television, and national and local radio (see media profile webpage).


Paul Webb was Head of Politics & Contemporary European Studies from 2006 to 2009, and  Director of Research & Knowledge Exchange in the School of Law, Politics & Sociology from 2011-2014.

In recent years he has received external funding to support his research from the ESRC (projects on Gender and the Conservative Party with Professor Sarah Childs of Bristol University), the British Academy and the Leverhulme Foundation (project on Representative Politics and Democratic Disconnect). He is currently co-directing a major international project on party organizations (The Political Party Database Project) with Professor Susan Scarrow of (University of Houston) and Professor Thomas Poguntke (Heinrich Heine University, Duessledorf), which is co-funded by the ESRC, the National Science Foundation of the USA, and the German national research foundation (DFG). He is also working on the ESRC-funded project Party Members in the UK with Professor Tim Bale of Queen Mary University London, and writing the second edition of his book The Modern British Party System for Oxford University Press.

He currently convenes the first year undergraduate core course on Explanatory Concepts in Political Science and the final year undergraduate options on Political Parties and Party Systems, UK Parties and Voters and The Independent Study


Community and Business

Paul Webb has been consultant or advisor to a number of external bodies including the Hansard Society, The McDougall Trust, the Department of Constitutional Affairs, the (Phillips) Inquiry into the Funding of Political Parties, the House of Commons Select Committee on Political and Constitutional Reform, the National Democratic Institute (Washington DC) and the Institut für Deutsches und Internationales Parteienrecht¿und Parteienforschung (University of Düsseldorf). In the course of his recent research he has provided briefings on the findings to the major political party head offices and conferences.

He has regularly contributed to media coverage of politics, especially for BBC television, and national and local radio (see media profile webpage).

Outside the university, Paul Webb is a former trustee of the educational charity, The McDougall Trust, and was a governor at St. Philip's RC Primary School in Arundel, West Sussex from 2003-2009 (Chair, 2004-2007).