Vernon Bogdanor

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Vernon Bogdanor
Bogdanor speaking on his book The New British Constitution in Blackwell's bookshop, Oxford.
Born (1943-07-16) 16 July 1943 (age 71)
Nationality British
Institutions University of Oxford
King's College London
New College of the Humanities
Alma mater The Queen's College, Oxford
Notable students David Cameron

Vernon Bernard Bogdanor, CBE, FBA /ˈbɒɡdənɔr/ (born Staines district 16 July 1943[1]) is Research Professor at the Institute for Contemporary British History at King's College London and Professor of Politics at the New College of the Humanities. He is also Emeritus Professor of Politics and Government at the University of Oxford and Emeritus Fellow of Brasenose College, Oxford. He is one of Britain's foremost constitutional experts and has written extensively on political and constitutional issues. He supports both the British monarchy[2] and the adoption of proportional representation.

Early life[edit]

He is the only recorded child of Harry Bogdanor and Rosa (born Weinger) Bogdanor, who had married the previous summer.[3]


Educated at Bishopshalt School, Vernon Bogdanor gained his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (with congratulatory First Class honours) from The Queen's College, Oxford. He has been Fellow and Tutor in Politics at Brasenose College, Oxford, since 1966, where he has been Senior Tutor (1979–85 and 1996–97), Vice-Principal, and (in 2002-03) Acting Principal. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and an Honorary Fellow of the Society for Advanced Legal Studies.

Bogdanor married Judith Evelyn Beckett in 1972.[4]

In 1998, he was awarded the CBE for contributions to constitutional history, and, in 2009, he was appointed Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur.[5]

He has been a Member of Council of The Hansard Society for Parliamentary Government, Specialist Adviser to the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Communities, Member of the Court of Essex University, adviser (as a member of the Council of Europe and American Bar Association delegations) to the governments of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel and Slovakia on constitutional and electoral reform, member of the Academic Panel of Local Authority Associations, member of the Hansard Society Commission on the Legislative Process, member of the UK Government delegation on Democratic Institutions in Central and Eastern Europe and Conference on the Protection of Minorities, Consultant to Independent Television News (ITN) on the General Election, member of the Economic and Social Research Council's committee administering the 'Whitehall' programme, special adviser to the House of Commons Select Committee on the Public Services, member of the Swedish Constitutional Reform Project, member of the Advisory Group to the High Commissioner on National Minorities, adviser to the President of Trinidad on the Constitution of Trinidad, and member of the Economic and Social Research Council's committee administering the devolution programme.

Professor Bogdanor is a frequent contributor to television, radio and newspapers. Between 2004 and 2008 he gave public lectures as Professor of Law at Gresham College, London. He continues to give public lectures at the College, now as Visiting Professor of Political History. He has published numerous books and articles. Recently, he edited The British Constitution in the 20th Century (published by Oxford University Press to mark the centenary of the British Academy) and authored The New British Constitution (2009) which analyses constitutional changes under the Labour government since 1997.

Professor Bogdanor is not a member of any political party. He is a member of the Henry Jackson Society, a think tank based in Cambridge, which seeks to spread ideas about democratic government.

Professor Bogdanor appeared on the BBC's coverage of the 2010 election night offering thoughts and insight onto the result as well as their implications, as they came in. He made a further appearance in the BBC's election night programme for the Council elections and AV referendum in May 2011.

Bogdanor recently said that the democratic deficit in England "was a price worth paying", in order to secure the continuance of the United Kingdom.[6]


David Cameron[edit]

Professor Bogdanor's most famous former student is the current Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader David Cameron whom he has described as "one of the ablest" students he has taught, whose political views were "moderate and sensible Conservative".[7] Professor Bogdanor has, however, expressed reservations about some of Cameron's policies, notably his proposal for a British "Bill of Rights", about which Bogdanor said, "I believe it's ill thought-out and confused.... He [Cameron] may have forgotten some of the things I've taught him. I'd be happy to give him a few more tutorials on civil liberties."[8]

Damian Green[edit]

He referred to the arrest and questioning of the Conservative MP Damian Green, by police from Special Branch as "a storm in a teacup"–"The important principle is that MPs–apart from when they're speaking in the chamber and dealing with constituents' correspondence–are as subject to the same laws as the rest of us."[9]


Among books written or edited by Vernon Bogdanor are the following:

  • The Coalition and the Constitution
  • Constitutions in Democratic Politics
  • "Democracy and Elections: Electoral Systems and Their Political Consequences"
  • Devolution in the United Kingdom
  • Joined-Up Government
  • Multi-Party Politics and the Constitution
  • The Monarchy and the Constitution
  • What is Proportional Representation?
  • Power and the People: Guide to Constitutional Reform
  • The New British Constitution
  • The Age of Affluence, 1951-1964
  • The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Political Institutions

Notable former students[edit]

Bogdanor's most notable former student is David Cameron. Others include Kate Allen, Camilla Cavendish, Peter Conradi, Diane Coyle, Lieutenant General Michelle D. Johnson, Guy Spier, Toby Young and Jeremy Sillem.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 29 November 2013. 
  2. ^ The Guardian has got it wrong, The Guardian, 6 December 2000
  3. ^ ["Federalism and the future of Europe" Conference Report] (Basel, 2001) Contributors' Biographies section at the end of the report
  4. ^ ["Federalism and the future of Europe" Conference Report] (Basel, 2001) Contributors' Biographies section at the end of the report
  5. ^ "Cameron tutor gains French honour". Press Association. 2009-10-29. Retrieved 2009-10-30. 
  6. ^ BBC Radio 4, 20 December 2011
  7. ^ "The David Cameron story". BBC News. 2005-12-06. Retrieved 2010-05-27. 
  8. ^ Woodward, Will (2006-06-27). "Cameron's call to repeal legislation would not end deportation battles, say ministers". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2010-05-27. 
  9. ^ "Row over Green 'grooming' claims", BBC News, 1 December 2008