Dr Neil Pye BA, MA, PhD

University Teacher in British Politics Politics


Personal Statement

Neil joined the University of Liverpool's Department of Politics in September 2019 and teaches the Year 1 course modules British Politics I and British Politics II, as well as the Year 2 course module British Political Ideologies with course convener Dr Kevin Hickson.

In terms of research interests, Neil's academic career began at the University of Huddersfield where from 2005 to 2011, he completed his doctorate degree. At the time, his thesis titled, The Home Office and the suppression of Chartism in the West Riding, c.1838-1848 (which later became a book) was pioneering in that it was one of the very first digitised archival studies of Chartism which fully explored the nature of the movements relationship with British State and Home Secretaries of the day, along with the evolution of the state's coercive machinery and provincial policing mechanisms, along with the nature of centre-local relations in Britain during the 1830s and 1840s.

Alongside academia, during the 2010s, Neil became involved in local politics. As a former councillor, one of his greatest achievements was being part of the steering committee for the Findon and Firbeck Housing Revival Project which successfully regenerated and transformed what were previously two decaying system built housing estates in Skelmersdale. Working very closely with council officials, this was a resident-led initiative that not only saw the construction of new homes, but also the retrofitting of existing properties, along with a major transformation of the appearance of the estate. Further, through being a longstanding member of a Planning Committee, Neil was actively involved in opposition to the expansion of Landfill sites, as well as successful campaigns to protect green spaces from developers across West Lancashire.

On the back of those experiences and from 2017 onwards, Neil developed an academic interest in local governance and politics. This began at the Open University Business School with a study of the 2017 Metro Mayoral elections, for which his research role involved assisting the lead academics devise survey questions, as well as organise and conduct interviews with politicians, business leaders and media personnel - the most notable of which was conducted was with Lord Michael Heseltine. Information gleaned from those interviews later fed into a recent and major publication about the first-term of the Greater Manchester and Liverpool Metro Mayors. Further, it began a longstanding fascination with devolution and place management, from which various research, conference papers and articles about the regeneration of former New Towns; the effectiveness of directly-elected mayors; education and skills in the UK; the British State's handling of Covid-19 pandemic and the current Levelling Up agenda emerged.

Whilst working at the Open University Business School, Neil also developed an interest in African Politics. Beginning as a Research Consultant to Professor Tom Lawton, in this capacity, Neil was involved with various projects in relation to the Corporate Social Responsibility of UK firms involved in good governance schemes within the Great Lakes and Sub-Saharan African region; the role and effectiveness of social enterprises West Africa; UK and Spanish SME’s and their compliance with the UN Global Compact; studies of Uganda’s Solar Energy governance and role of e-learning within its customer service arena; the sustainability of Electric Bus Rapid Transit (e-BRT) systems in Europe and Africa and during 2021, research which investigated Ghana’s space science programme. All of those projects required the use of qualitative, quantitative and ethnographic research methods, as well as the production of literature reviews; creation of databases and datasets, as well as the conduct of research interviews with various stakeholders.

In more recent times, the main focus for Neil's research at the University of Liverpool has been in the field of British politics and contemporary political history, for which he has contributed book chapters on devolution and local government for publications edited by Dr Kevin Hickson about former Labour Prime Ministers and Leaders James Callaghan and John Smith. Prior to that, Neil was involved in an important piece of research and writing in 2018, which charted the rise and fall of Militant-led Labour in Liverpool during the 1970s and 1980s. As well as the history of the Labour Party, Neil has presented conference papers about the Social Democrat Party (SDP) and Lord Michael Heseltine's involvement with the regeneration of Liverpool and its city region in the 1980s

As a member of the Political Studies Association, Neil is proactively involved with its Local Politics and Governance Specialist Group, for which he has presented papers and given talks about Levelling Up and Metro Mayors. At the PSA24 Conference at the University of Strathclyde, Neil will be presenting material from a research paper in production about austerity and public standards in UK Politics.