The Legacy of the Coalition and Its Lessons for the Future

  • Judi Atkins
Part of the Rhetoric, Politics and Society book series (RPS)


This concluding chapter summarizes the main findings of the book. It then examines the strategies of identification and division employed by the post-2015 Cameron government in the policy areas of higher education and Europe. Of particular concern are the case for introducing a Teaching Excellence Framework and the debate that took place during the 2016 referendum campaign over whether Britain should leave or remain in the EU. Next, the chapter discusses the rhetoric of identification employed by the Conservative minority government and the Democratic Unionist Party following their confidence and supply agreement in the aftermath of the inconclusive 2017 general election. After identifying lessons for future multi-party governments in the UK, it finally considers some productive avenues for further research on coalition politics.


  1. Asthana, A., McDonald, H., & Carrell, S. (2017, June 26). Theresa May Faces Backlash from Scotland and Wales Over £1bn Tory-DUP Deal. Guardian. Retrieved from
  2. Atkins, J. (2011). Justifying New Labour Policy. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Better Off Out. (2016). Is Britain Getting Too Crowded? Retrieved from
  4. Bevir, M., Daddow, O., & Schnapper, P. (2015). Introduction: Interpreting British European Policy. JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies, 53(1), 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Blair, O. (2016, July 5). Theresa May Meets with Richard Branson After Brexit for ‘Secret Talks’. Independent. Retrieved from
  6. Britain Stronger In. (2016). From Lord Alan Sugar. Retrieved from
  7. Cameron, D. (2013, January 23). EU Speech at Bloomberg. Retrieved from
  8. Cameron, D. (2016, May 9). Speech on the EU Referendum. Retrieved from
  9. Clegg, N. (2004). Europe: A Liberal Future. In P. Marshall & D. Laws (Eds.), The Orange Book: Reclaiming Liberalism (pp. 69–103). London: Profile Books Ltd.Google Scholar
  10. Clegg, N. (2012a, November 1). Nick Clegg Speech on His Vision for the UK in Europe. Retrieved from
  11. Clegg, N. (2012b, August 6). Statement on House of Lords Reform. Retrieved from
  12. Clegg, N. (2013, October 8). In Europe for the National Interest. Retrieved from
  13. Clegg, N. (2016). Politics: Between the Extremes. London: The Bodley Head.Google Scholar
  14. Collini, S. (2017). Speaking of Universities. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  15. Conservative Party. (2015). The Conservative Party Manifesto 2015. London: The Conservative Party.Google Scholar
  16. Copsey, N., & Haughton, T. (2014). Farewell Britannia? ‘Issue Capture’ and the Politics of David Cameron’s 2013 EU Referendum Pledge. JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies, 52(Annual Review), 74–89.Google Scholar
  17. Debus, M., & Gross, M. (2016). Coalition Formation at the Local Level: Institutional Constraints, Party Policy Conflict, and Office-Seeking Political Parties. Party Politics, 22(6), 835–846.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. (2016, May 16). Press Release: New Universities to Deliver Choice and Opportunity for Students. Retrieved from
  19. Diamond, P. (2014). Governing Britain: Power, Politics and the Prime Minister. London: I.B. Tauris & Co., Ltd.Google Scholar
  20. Eaton, G. (2017, June 16). Tory MPs Fear the Price of a Deal with the DUP Is Too High. New Statesman. Retrieved from
  21. Editorial. (2016, May 16). The Guardian View on the Higher Education White Paper: The Customer Is Always Ripe—For Fleecing. Guardian. Retrieved from
  22. Foster, A. (2017, June 26). DUP Deal with Conservative Party: Arlene Foster’s Speech in Full. Retrieved from
  23. Geoghegan, P. (2016, May 27). Northern Ireland’s New Normal Normal. Politico. Retrieved from
  24. Hazell, R., & Paun, A. (Eds.). (2009). Making Minority Government Work: Hung Parliaments and the Challenges for Westminster and Whitehall. Retrieved from
  25. Hazell, R., & Yong, B. (2012). The Politics of Coalition: How the Cameron-Clegg Government Works. Oxford: Hart Publishing Ltd.Google Scholar
  26. Hewitt, G. (2016, April 14). EU Referendum: Don’t Discount Raw Emotion. BBC News. Retrieved from
  27. Johnson, J. (2015, July 1). Teaching at the Heart of the System. Retrieved from
  28. Laver, M., Rallings, C., & Thrasher, M. (1987). Coalition Theory and Local Government Coalition Payoffs in Britain. British Journal of Political Science, 17(4), 501–509.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Laver, M., & Schofield, N. (1998). Multiparty Government: The Politics of Coalition in Europe. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Laws, D. (2010). 22 Days in May: The Birth of the Lib Dem-Conservative Coalition. London: Biteback Publishing Ltd.Google Scholar
  31. Laws, D. (2016). Coalition: The Inside Story of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition Government. London: Biteback Publishing Ltd.Google Scholar
  32. Lupia, A., & Strøm, K. (2008). Bargaining, Transaction Costs, and Coalition Governance. In K. Strøm, W. C. Müller, & T. Bergman (Eds.), Cabinets and Coalition Bargaining: The Democratic Life Cycle in Western Europe (pp. 51–83). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Martin, J. (2016). Rhetoric of Excess. In D. Jackson, E. Thorsen, & D. Wring (Eds.), EU Referendum Analysis 2016: Media, Voters and the Campaign (p. 21). Poole: The Centre for the Study of Journalism, Culture and Community, Bournemouth University.Google Scholar
  34. May, T. (2017a, April 18). Theresa May’s General Election Statement in Full. Retrieved from
  35. May, T. (2017b, June 26). PM Statement on Confidence and Supply Agreement with the DUP. Retrieved from
  36. Oliver, C. (2016). Unleashing Demons: The Inside Story of Brexit. London: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd.Google Scholar
  37. Polonski, V. (2016). Impact of Social Media on the Outcome of the EU Referendum. In D. Jackson, E. Thorsen, & D. Wring (Eds.), EU Referendum Analysis 2016: Media, Voters and the Campaign (p. 94). Poole: The Centre for the Study of Journalism, Culture and Community, Bournemouth University.Google Scholar
  38. Prime Minister’s Office. (2017, June 26). Confidence and Supply Agreement Between the Conservative and Unionist Party and the Democratic Unionist Party. Retrieved from Scholar
  39. Richards, S. (2013, August 30). For a Fragile Leader Like Cameron, the Past Can Be a Treacherous Guide. Guardian. Retrieved from
  40. Russell, A. (2016). The Liberal Democrats: The EU Referendum’s Invisible Party. In D. Jackson, E. Thorsen, & D. Wring (Eds.), EU Referendum Analysis 2016: Media, Voters and the Campaign (p. 83). Poole: The Centre for the Study of Journalism, Culture and Community, Bournemouth University.Google Scholar
  41. Shipman, T. (2016). All Out War: The Full Story of How Brexit Sank Britain’s Political Class. London: William Collins.Google Scholar
  42. Strøm, K. (1984). Minority Governments in Parliamentary Democracies: The Rationality of Nonwinning Cabinet Solutions. Comparative Political Studies, 17(2), 199–227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Strøm, K. (1990). Minority Government and Majority Rule. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  44. Vote Leave. (2016). 5 Positive Reasons to Vote Leave and Take Back Control: Europe Yes, EU No. Retrieved from
  45. Willetts, D. (2012a, September 13). ‘A World Without Boundaries’: Speech at UUK Conference. Retrieved from
  46. Willetts, D. (2012b, April 18). Speech to the HEFCE Annual Conference 2012. Retrieved from

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Judi Atkins
    • 1
  1. 1.Coventry UniversityCoventryUK

Personalised recommendations