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Politics and International RelationsPart of Economic, Social and Political Science

Dr. Lawrence McKay BA, MRes, PhD

Research Fellow in Politics

Dr. Lawrence McKay's photo

Dr. Lawrence McKay is a Research Fellow for TrustGov, an ESRC-funded project which explores political trust around the world – its causes, consequences and patterns.

As part of the TrustGov project, I’ll be looking into how geographic divides result in gaps in political trust – and how we can address those divisions

In my position, starting in August 2020, I am the project lead in the research area of trust and geography. Among other factors, TrustGov seeks to determine how far trust in political institutions varies by place – such as among nations, regions within a country, and among rural and urban communities.

I have recently completed an ESRC-funded PhD (2016-2020) at the University of Manchester, which studies why people in Britain often feel like their local communities are under-represented by their MPs and central government. I have published in journals on the topics of how MPs’ choice of local vs national focus can affect trust, and why economically ‘left-behind’ communities distrust government.

As well as political geography, I am interested in political communication, legislative studies, and British Politics in general. I have also written on political knowledge and engagement for prominent media outlets, such as the Guardian, and have been involved in the Hansard Society’s annual Audit of Political Engagement report.

I am also engaged in the academic community through my role on the Political Studies Early Career Network, which represents more than 600 ECR members of the PSA. We write about ECR issues and have organised successful events such as a large online conference in 2020.

Before starting my PhD, I completed a BA in History (2012-15) and an MRes in Politics (2015-16) at the University of Exeter.

Research interests

My specialism is in the geography of political trust. I am also interested in political communication, legislative studies, political representation, and British Politics in general.

PhD title:  ‘Understanding and Explaining the Representation Gap in Britain’. Research co-funded and supported by ESRC NWDTP and the Hansard Society, grant no: ES/J500094/1. Supervised by Prof. Edward Fieldhouse and Prof. Maria Sobolewska.

Research projects
TrustGov, led by Principal Investigator Will Jennings

Research group

Political Analysis

Affiliate research group

Public Policy

Committee member of the Political Studies Association Early Career Network.

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Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Dr. Lawrence McKay
Politics & International Relations, Social Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton SO17 1BJ United Kingdom

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