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School of Social and Political Science: Staff profiles


Daniel Kenealy

Daniel Kenealy
Dr Daniel Kenealy
2.01 21 George Square Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
+44 (0) 131 650 4080
Research Interests
British government and politics, UK constitutional politics and history, Devolution, Intergovernmental relations, Parliament, Whitehall, Machinery of government, Prime Ministers and Cabinets, Civil service, Scottish Government, Brexit


Please email me to schedule a meeting.


After completing my PhD in International Relations at the University of Edinburgh in 2012 I joined the School, initially as a Teaching Fellow in Politics & International Relations. I joined the Social Policy subject area in April 2015. I have served as Deputy Director of the Academy of Government (2013-2015), Director of the Master of Public Policy (2012-2015), Special Adviser to the Senior Vice Principal (2016-2017), and am currently serving as the School's Quality Assurance Director (to 31 July 2019).

Current research

I am working on several interrelated projects, involving work at several archive sites across the UK, alongside elite interviews in London, Edinburgh and some of England's major cities. My research falls into the following areas:

  • Constitutional Politics, with a focus on the impact of Brexit on territory and power in the UK. I am currently working on a book reflecting on 20 years of constitutional change since 1999 and possible constitutional developments beyond Brexit. Attached to this project are various discrete papers about Brexit and parliament, executive powers and privilege vs. parliamentary oversight, ministerial standards and conduct, and intergovernmental relations in the UK.
  • Central-Local Relations in England: one strand of this work is contemporary, examining the development of Metro Mayors and Combined Authorities as a new form of governance in England since November 2014; the other strand is historical and involves archival research and an exploration of Conservative statecraft during the Thatcher and Major premierships (1979-1997).
  • Whitehall and UK Government, 1979-1997: complementing the above research is a broader strand of research examining the workings of Whitehall during the Thatcher and Major premierships and, in particular, the working of Cabinet and its committees, the role of de facto deputies to the PM, and the power of Thatcher's Policy Unit and her 'irregular' Downing Street advisers.

Outside of my core research I am interested in political biography and in depictions of politics, government and public administration in fiction, particularly on television and in novels and theatre.

Earlier research


My earlier research explored the history of European integration and the UK's constitutional politics before, during and after Scotland's 2014 independence referendum. I have published in journals including West European Politics, Regional and Federal Studies, Journal of European Integration, Millenium, European Security, European Law Journal, British Politics and Diplomacy and Statecraft.

I have presented my research at the University of Montreal, the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, Georgetown University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the European Policy Centre in Brussels, and Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik in Berlin. I have served as expert adviser to the Scottish Parliament's European and External Relations Committee and have presented oral evidence to that committee on several occasions as well as to the House of Commons' Scottish Affairs Committee.

Current teaching and administration

  • Convener, 'Social Policy MA Dissertation' (Undergraduate)
  • Convener, 'Government, Policy & Society MA Dissertation' (Undergraduate)
  • Personal tutor, 4th year Social Policy students
  • School Quality Assurance Director

Topics interested in supervising

I would be keen to supervise students interested in: (1) UK and Scottish government, particularly issues concerning machinery of government, structures, and decision-making processes; (2) UK constitutional politics, particularly intergovernmental relations and the external policies of the UK's devolved nations; and (3) working at the intersection of public policy/administration and political history.

If you are interested in being supervised by Daniel Kenealy, please see the links below for more information:

PhD in Politics; PhD in Social Policy; MSc (R) Politics; MSc (R) Social Policy