Dr Neil Matthews

Dr Neil Matthews

Dr Neil Matthews
Senior Lecturer in Politics

G.04, 4 Priory Road,
11 Priory Road, Clifton, Bristol
(See a map)


Telephone Number (0117) 33 10760

School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies

Personal profile

Neil Matthews joined SPAIS as Lecturer in British Politics in September 2016. He holds a PhD in Politics from Queen's University Belfast (QUB). Prior to joining the University of Bristol he was a Research Fellow on The Northern Ireland Assembly Election Study 2016, an ESRC-funded project based at QUB.

He has served as an Associate Editor for Irish Political Studies and sits on the Advisory Board for the Qualitative Election Study of Britain. He is a member of a range of specialist groups on Irish Politics, British Politics and comparative party politics.




He works primarily on issues around party democracy, including political parties, public opinion, elections and voting behaviour. He has a long-standing interest in political party organisation and intra-party democracy, as well as political gender equality.  

His research expertise is the case study of Northern Ireland, a case on which he has published research on elections, party organisation, political gender equality, power-sharing and the dimensionality of policy space. This research has informed the work of the Northern Ireland Assembly and several interest groups, including the Electoral Reform Society.

He is a regular commentator on Northern irish politics and his research has featured on a wide range of media platforms, including The Conversation, Belfast Telegraph, Irish News and Newsweek.

He has been involved in the collaborative design and analysis of Voter Advice Applications (VAAs) for several elections in Northern Ireland (2014-2017). 

He is a co-investigator on the ESRC-funded project: Out of touch and out of time? A cross-temporal and cross-level analysis of the social and ideological distance between UK voters and political elites (2018-19). 

He is currently undertaking collaborative research on gender and party leadership in Northern Ireland; citizen attitudes to political parties in Northern Ireland; the use of Voting Advice Applications in post-conflict deeply-divided societies.




He teaches on the following undergraduate and postgraduate units:

POLI10005 Thinking Politically (1st year)

POLI21222 Politics and Policymaking in the UK (2nd year)

POLIM0031 Northern ireland: a case study in ethno-national conflict resolution (MSc)


PhD Supervision

He is willing to supervise PhD students undertaking research on:

  • British/Irish party politics
  • Political party organisation
  • Ethnic conflict and resolution
  • Power-sharing




Fields of interest

British politics, Irish politics, political party organisation, ethnic conflict and resolution, power-sharing

Latest publications

  1. Matthews, N, Garry, J & Tilley, J, 2019, ‘The Evolution of Party Policy and Cleavage Voting under Power-Sharing in Northern Ireland’. Government and Opposition.
  2. Matthews, N, 2019, ‘Party Politics and Religion in Northern Ireland’. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics.
  3. Coakley, J, Garry, J, Matthews, N & O’Leary, B, 2019, ‘Party images in Northern Ireland: evidence from a new dataset’. Irish Political Studies, vol 34., pp. 1-24
  4. Garry, J, Tilley, J, Matthews, N, Mendez, F & Wheatley, J, 2018, ‘Does receiving advice from Voter Advice Applications (VAAs) affect public opinion in deeply divided societies? Evidence from a field experiment in Northern Ireland’. Party Politics.
  5. Matthews, N, 2017, ‘The changing face of party policy selection in post-devolution Northern Ireland’. British Politics, vol 12., pp. 361-385
  6. Matthews, N & Pow, J, 2017, ‘A fresh start? The Northern Ireland Assembly election 2016’. Irish Political Studies, vol 32., pp. 311-326
  7. Garry, J, Matthews, N & Wheatley, J, 2016, ‘Dimensionality of policy space in consociational Northern Ireland’. Political studies, vol 65., pp. 493-511
  8. Matthews, N, 2015, ‘Plus Ça Change: The 2014 Local Elections in Northern Ireland’. Irish Political Studies.
  9. Matthews, N, 2015, ‘The selection of party leaders in Northern Ireland’. Parliamentary affairs, vol 69., pp. 901?927
  10. Matthews, N, 2014, ‘Gendered Candidate Selection and the Representation of Women in Northern Ireland’. Parliamentary affairs.

Full publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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