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The New Labour Years: The Blair Brown Revolution

Key information

Subject area:

Stackable Microcredentials

Course type:

Assessed Module

Credit level:


Credit value:



10 weeks

Available course dates:

From: 13 January 2025 To: 25 April 2025
Application deadline: 02 December 2024

Course overview

This module considers the New Labour governments from a historical perspective, tracing changes and themes across the thirteen years of Tony Blair’s and Gordon Brown’s premierships, using the rigour of the historical method. Special attention is given to the memoirs and diaries of the central protagonists, and a high-profile range of guests will allow you to truly interrogate their sources face-to-face.

New Labour was a transformative government with a legacy that remains instructive for politicians and policymakers on both sides of the political spectrum. This module enables you to learn and debate the breadth of New Labour years – the personal history of the key protagonists, the role of media spin, the power of the Treasury under Brown, the development of transformative public service reform, the role of special advisers, foreign policy and the Iraq War.

The module is led by Dr Michelle Clement and co-taught with Professor Jon Davis and Visiting Professor John Rentoul, Chief Political Commentator for The Independent, biographer of Blair. The first iteration of this module was founded in 2008 and has been a pioneering learning environment for the study of the New Labour years. The first book of the course, Heroes or Villains?: The Blair Government Reconsidered, was written by Rentoul and Davis.

The seminars see a wide range of prominent participants from government and the Civil Service invited to speak and to field questions. In the past guests have included Lord Blunkett, Ed Balls, Alastair Campbell, Anji Hunter, Baroness Jay, Patricia Hewitt, Lord Mandelson, Baroness Morgan, Lord O’Donnell, Sir Kevin Tebbit, and Tony Blair himself.

What does this course cover?

This module will provide you with:

  • A detailed knowledge and understanding of the inner workings and key decisions of the New Labour governments 1997 – 2010
  • The ability to analyse and evaluate not only what domestic and foreign policies were being pursued and the process by which decision-making occurred during the ‘New Labour Years’, but also the role that key personalities and ideas have played in shaping the Blair and Brown premierships
  • The context for deeper comprehension of, and the ability to critically evaluate, contemporary issues and policy choices faced by the governments which have come after 2010
  • An opportunity to discuss and debate the above issues, both with your peers and with current and former practitioners
  • A specialism in the historical context of a particular event or decision.

What will I achieve?

At the end of the module, you will be able to:

  • Identify the key actors in the British policy process and the formal role of the prime minister, Cabinet ministers, special advisers and senior civil servants during the New Labour years
  • Evaluate the role of the Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown in a select number of high profile cases of policy-making
  • Analyse the factors contributing to successful and unsuccessful policy management by the Blair and Brown governments
  • Engage with debates surrounding the conduct and record of the Blair and Brown premierships
  • Scrutinise primary and secondary sources as a means of analysing the New Labour governments
  • Interact directly with those involved with policymakers, interrogating their primary sources first hand, building valuable analytical and communication skills
  • Complete a detailed investigation of at least one particular theme associated with this topic, using secondary and primary sources, to produce a finished piece of analysis.

Who will I learn with?

Michelle Clement

Michelle Clement


Who is this for?

The standard entry requirements comprise: 

  • A 2:2 honours degree or international equivalent
  • A CV and personal statement outlining your reasons for study
  • English language band B (for example, IELTS 7.0 overall with a minimum of 6.5 in each skill). 

How will I be assessed?

​​You will be assessed via the following:

  • Coursework 1 - Short literature review/report (approx. 1,000 words) = 10%
  • Coursework 2 - Essay (3,500 words) = 80%
  • Participation = 10%.

What is the teaching schedule?

This is an on-campus module so you will be expected to attend in-person. Exact days and times will be provided upon enrolment.

Further information

This module is offered as part of our flexible master’s awards in Professional Development. The awards are one of the most flexible currently offered in the UK, providing the opportunity to study a range of modules from across King’s, both on-campus and online. Whether you are looking for a promotion or to retrain, you have come to the right place.   

Designed for mature professionals juggling life and work commitments, our postgraduate awards will enable you to study at your own pace. In challenging financial times, you are also able to fund your studies module-by-module.   

We will support you to select the right module diet that meets your objectives while ensuring that you are well prepared for success. We will also help you to build your professional network of peers from across our suite of CPD modules.  

We can’t wait for you to continue your lifelong learning journey here at King’s

Course status:

Opening soon

Full fee £5000

Express interest


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