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General Election 2017

Our academic experts can inform your election coverage across a range of key issues, while the University of East London offers a stunning location to stage a pre-election debate.

Meet our election experts

To arrange an interview, contact the UEL press team at or on +44 (0)20 8223 2911

Professor Jeremy Gilbert (progressive alliance, Labour Party)
Professor Gilbert can provide expert comment on the idea of a ‘progressive alliance’; the internal politics of the Labour Party; the future of British democracy; and the broad historical and cultural context for the 8 June election, Brexit and the recent surge in Conservative support.
Professor Gilbert is a prominent advocate of the ‘progressive alliance’.  He was the author of a recent publication by the Labour-aligned think tank, Compass, which outlined why Labour members should support the strategy. He was a strategic advisor to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership campaign in 2016.

Professor Paul Springer (social media in politics)

Professor Springer is a specialist in social media use in politics, from the US election campaigns of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, to the Scottish independence referendum. He can comment on the uses and misuses of social media of MPs and party campaigns - when they work and why they fail.

He has written on these topics for Forbes Magazine, The Daily Telegraph, and Newsweek. He’s also the author of Pioneers of Digital (written with Microsoft's head of advertising, Mel Carson).

Professor Allan Brimicombe (statistical analysis, big data)

A big data and statistics expert and director of the Centre for Geo-Studies, Professor Brimicombe produced data analysis around party manifestos during the last general election. He can also provide analysis of MP speeches and press releases, regional mapping, statistical comment on election predictions and results. His research has been reported by BBC News, Sky News, Curbed, Bloomberg, The Atlantic, and The Mirror. 

Professor Jonathan Hardy (UK media and policy)

Professor Hardy can provide expert comment on UK and European media policy issues, including the evolution and regulation of branded content in news and entertainment media. He writes and comments on media industries, media and advertising, digital journalism, communications regulation, and international media systems. Professor Hardy is secretary of the UK media group, the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom, and Principal Investigator for the [Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded] Branded Content Research Network.  

Dr Darren Sharpe (youth engagement in politics)

Dr Sharpe can provide comment on young people’s engagement – or lack of it –  in politics

He is a member of UEL’s Institute for Health and Human Development and specialises in young people’s issues. In 2016 he led a project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council to create a website to inform young people of the important issues in the EU referendum.

Professor Vassilis K. Fouskas (Labour Party and the EU)

Professor Fouskas is a specialist in European and global economics and social history at UEL's Royal Docks School of Business and Law. Although pro-EU, he believes the Labour Party should be offering voters a  ruthless critique of the EU's authoritarianism in its current form, as well as a pro-labour, pro-migration, pro-environmental and pro-human rights campaign for a sovereign Britain. He is sceptical about tactical voting as envisaged by Gina Miller on the grounds that it would only benefit the Liberal Democrats.

Dr Andrew Calcutt (UK media, 'fake democracy' versus fake news)

As  a journalist, Dr Calcutt covered three UK general elections campaigns (1987, 1992, 1997). After two decades of teaching and researching journalism, he believes that for this generation the problem is not fake news but fake democracy. Holding an election, he says, is not the same as promoting democracy.

Dr John Morrison (Peace Process, Jeremy Corbyn)

Dr Morrison is the director of the Terrorism and Extremism Research Centre. A native of Ireland, he specialises in the IRA and violent Irish republicanism. He can comment on the potential impact the forthcoming general election could have on the Peace Process. 

Professor Eva Lloyd (policy on childcare)
Professor Lloyd can provide comment on election issues relating to the marketisation and privatisation of childcare and its relation to child poverty and social exclusion.
Professor Lloyd believes the 8 June election provides an opportunity for all political parties to address the uncertainty among parents and early years professionals about whether there will be sufficient places available from September to deliver the current government’s promise of 30 hours of free childcare to qualifying families. 
Dr Rhiannon Firth (anarchist perspectives)
Dr Firth can provide expert comment on anarchist perspectives on voting; why many anarchists choose not to vote; anarchist and Utopian alternatives to voting, including direct action, direct democracy, intentional communities and social movements; anarchist arguments for and against tactical voting; and anarchist, post-left anarchist and post-structural critiques of representative democracy.

Dr Tim Hall (east London politics)

Dr Hall has been involved in grassroots campaigning in east London for years, especially around poverty and the Living Wage. He has organised numerous events to engage secondary, college, and university students in domestic and European politics. Dr Hall is a principal lecturer in social sciences, London Living Wage award winner and an expert in the east London political scene.

Professor Mike Cole (Jeremy Corbyn, socialism)

Professor Cole can provide comment on Jeremy Corbyn and socialism as well as issues related to racism in UK society. He is Professor in Education and his research includes critical race theory and Marxism and racism. 
Dr Andrew Wilkins (education, grammar schools)
Dr Wilkins can provide expert comment on election issues relating to school funding; school governance/governors; school accountability; grammar schools; and school collaboration/partnerships. He is Reader in Education and Governance in the Cass School of Education and Communities at UEL.

Dr Alpesh Maisuria (education, grammar schools, academies)

 Dr Maisuria can provide comment on election issues relating to tuition fees; grammar schools; the idea of national education service; and academies. He is a Senior Lecturer in Education Studies at UEL's Cass School of Education and Communities and is the editor for the Journal of Critical Education Policy Studies.


Looking for a venue to host a pre-election debate?

The University of East London offers an ideal place to host a pre-election debate, with a range of lecture theatres and rooms in a stunning, waterfront location in London's Royal Docks area.

We also have ample parking and great public transport links to central London and beyond. 

To find out more, ring the Communications team on 020 8223 2911 or email us at

Want to conduct a student vox pop?

The University of East London has one of the most diverse student bodies in the UK - ideal for a student vox pop on the hot political issues of the day.

We have politically engaged students - including first-time voters - ready and willing to be interviewed about the forthcoming election.

And if you're seeking the opinions of younger students of pre-voting age, we've lined up some enthusiastic and politically savvy interviewees at our neighbouring London Design and Engineering University Technology College 

UEL at a glance

The University of East London (often abbreviated to UEL) is a modern university with one of the most diverse student bodies in the UK. Our 17,000 students are drawn from more than 135 nationalities.

The University occupies two campuses in east London – one in the Royal Docks area and one in Stratford – the host town of the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics. 

UEL’s heritage as an educational institution dates back more than a century. It began life as the West Ham Technical Institute in 1898 and has remained an 'anchor institution' for the east London community, providing educational and employment opportunities.

The University is committed to community engagement and to improving social mobility by widening access to higher education. More than 50 per cent of our students are mature at the point of entry and almost two-thirds are from BAME backgrounds.

UEL offers more than 300 undergraduate and postgraduate courses and a broad range of research opportunities through its seven distinctive Schools.

These Schools are: School of Architecture, Computing and Engineering; School of Arts and Digital Industries; Royal Docks School of Business and Law; Cass School of Education and Communities; School of Health, Sport and Bioscience; School of Psychology; and the School of Social Sciences. The University has a Graduate School to support research students.

UEL is one of the country’s leading modern universities for research. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (a national peer review of higher education research), 94 per cent of the University’s research was officially classified as at ‘internationally recognised’ or better. Of this, 62 per cent was rated ‘internationally excellent’ or better and 17 per cent was judged to be ‘world-leading’.

In the 2016 National Student Survey, UEL was the fifth most improved university in the UK, rising 37 places in the national league table for overall student satisfaction.

The UEL Vice-Chancellor is Professor John Joughin. The lawyer, Mark Stephens CBE, chairs the UEL Board of Governors.

Mr Stephens is also an alumnus of UEL. Other prominent alumni include Imran Khan (the solicitor of the Stephen Lawrence family), MPs Dr Rupa Huq, Kate Osamor (pictured right) and Alison Seabeck, GB track sprinter Adam Gemili and Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor.