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Evaluating British prime ministerial performance: David Cameron’s Premiership in political time

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Nick Randall



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


This article contributes to the developing literature on prime ministerial performance in the UK by applying a critical reading of Stephen Skowronek’s account of leadership in ‘political time’ to evaluate David Cameron’s premiership. This, we propose, better understands the inter-relationship of structure and agency in prime ministerial performance than existing frameworks, particularly those based on Greenstein’s and Bulpitt’s approaches. We identify Cameron as a disjunctive prime minister but find it necessary to significantly develop the model of disjunctive leadership beyond that offered by Skowronek. We identify the warrants to authority, strategies and dilemmas associated with disjunctive leadership in the UK. We argue that Cameron was relatively skilful in meeting many of the challenges confronting an affiliated leader of a vulnerable regime. However, his second term exposed deep fractures in the regime which proved beyond Cameron’s skills as a disjunctive leader.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Byrne C, Randall N, Theakston K

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Journal of Politics and International Relations

Year: 2017

Volume: 19

Issue: 1

Pages: 202-220

Print publication date: 01/02/2017

Online publication date: 29/12/2016

Acceptance date: 30/11/2016

Date deposited: 30/11/2016

ISSN (print): 1369-1481

ISSN (electronic): 1467-856X

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd


DOI: 10.1177/1369148116685260


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