Selecting the ‘right sort’: Patterns of Political Recruitment at British By-elections

Elizabeth Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


Analyses of by-elections traditionally focus on explorations of electoral behaviour, rather than on patterns of political recruitment. However, who the parties select is important, as the candidate essentially constitutes the temporary face of the party. Furthermore, each party adapts their selection rules during by-elections to facilitate a greater role for the centre in the process. Combining qualitative research with selection and election data, this article explores intra-party tensions regarding the candidate selection process by focusing on the success rates of three specific groups of candidates: political insiders, women and locals. Focusing on by-election political recruitment provides an opportunity to assess the various tensions that arise over candidate selection between central strategists and local party activists, during intense and high profile campaigns.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-213
Number of pages19
JournalParliamentary affairs
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012


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