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  • BJPIR June 2019 Final

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Parties matter but institutions live on: Labour’s legacy on Conservative immigration policy and the neoliberal consensus

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

E-pub ahead of print
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/01/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>The British Journal of Politics and International Relations
Number of pages20
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date31/01/20
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The drivers of immigration policy have long been contested. While partisan theory contends that policy is a product of parties’ interests, historical institutionalism places explanatory value on the norms of policymaking and path dependency. Examining Conservative-led immigration policy, I argue that while parties matter for defining policy objectives, institutions explain policy outputs. Despite a shift from Labour’s expansive managed migration regime to the Coalition’s restrictive policy, there was remarkable confluence in policy and policymaking. Challenging the parties matter school of thought, I argue that institutional legacies inherited from New Labour explain policy stability and that these are reflective of an emerging political consensus on neoliberal migration management, including outsourcing and commodifying migration controls, maintaining an indirect corporatist agreement with employers, underpinned by a policy paradigm predicated on economic worthiness. This article demonstrates how inherited institutions persist and how ideational legacies evolved to a political consensus of neoliberal migration management.