From Brexit to COVID-19: The Johnson Government, Executive Centralisation and Authoritarian Populism

Joseph Ward, Bradley Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Many commentators have suggested that the first 18 months of the Johnson government were characterised by a propensity to centralise power. However, few accounts have situated the administration in the historical context of the British state or systematically examined these centralising tendencies. This article attempts to address these omissions. First, through a critical assessment of the literature on authoritarian neoliberalism, the concept of ‘executive centralisation’ is developed within the context of the British state. Second, the article applies this revised framework to the early stages of the Johnson government. While a dominant executive is a long-standing feature of the British political system, it is argued that Johnson has pursued a multifaceted centralisation strategy facilitated by the context of Brexit and COVID-19. In identifying the role of consent in this process, the article augments scholarship on ‘authoritarian neoliberalism’ as a moment in neoliberal governance characterised by the ascendance of coercive governing strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number003232172110637
JournalPolitical Studies
Early online date28 Dec 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Dec 2021

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