Search type


Rebecca McKee

Title of thesis

Is there evidence of a link between the descriptive and substantive representation of ethnic minorities in the UK? 


This PhD investigates whether there is a link between descriptive and substantive representation of ethnic minorities in the UK Parliament.

This questions, both, whether BME MPs are substantively representing ethnic minorities in the UK, those that they descriptively represent, and whether MPs are equally responsive to their constituents, or whether there is ethnic bias in the communication channel between constituents and their MP.

I am employing several methods to answer this question including Corpus Linguistic methods and Critical Discourse Analysis to analyse the Hansard records of Parliamentary speech. Also survey research using the online wave of the British Election Study and experimental methods involving emailing MPs through (fake) constituents.

I will be looking at this main research question from several angles, firstly inside Parliament and how ethnic minorities are being represented in the speech of MPs this will include comparing the speech of minority and non-minority MPs.

I will also be looking at minorities perceptions of their MPs and MPs responsiveness to their constituents as this relationship is vitally important if MPs are going to be able to accurately represent their minority constituents. This PhD is funded by the ESRC research group the Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity (CoDE) 

Planned submission date

September 2016 


  • Dr Rob Ford
  • Dr Maria Sobolewska


  • 2013 MSc in Social Change (Distinction) 
  • 2012 BSocSc (Hons) in Politics and International Relations (2.1)

Research interests

Political Representation. Ethnic inequalities. Parliamentary discourse. Quantitative research. Corpus Linguistics. Critical Discourse Analysis. 


  • McKee R. (2015) Love thy neighbour? Exploring prejudice against ethnic minority groups in a divided society: the case of Northern Ireland. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 1-20. 
  • McKee R. (2013) Ethical issues in using social media for health and health care research. Health Policy. 110 (2), 298-301. 
  • McKee R, Murphy A, Richardson E, Roberts B, Haerpfer C, McKee M. (2013) Do citizens of the former Soviet Union trust state institutions, and why? East European Politics
  • McKee R, Richardson E, Roberts B, Haerpfer C, McKee M. (2013) Things Can Only Get Better? Changing Views of the Past, Present and Future in the Former Soviet Union. Europe-Asia Studies, 65 (7), 1466-1478.

Conferences and invited presentations

  • 2016 “How do I register to vote? Evidence of ethnic bias in the responsiveness of MPs to their Constituents.” Political Studies Association (PSA) Brighton March. 
  • 2015 (Invited speaker) “Ethical issues in using social media for health and health care research.” European Health Forum, Bad Gastein September. 
  • 2015 “Substantive Representation of Ethnic Minorities in Parliament: Analysis of Anti-Terrorism Legislation Debates.“ Elections, Public Opinion and Parties Conference (EPOP), Cardiff September. 
  • 2015 “Who speaks for the UK’s Ethnic Minorities? A Corpus Linguistics Analysis of the Substantive Representation of Ethnic Minorities in Parliamentary Debates.” 
  • The European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR), Montréal. 
  • 2012 (Invited speaker) “Things can only get better? Changing views of the past, present and future in the former Soviet Union.” International Political Science Association World Congress, Madrid.


Outstanding applicant bursary - MSc Social Change 2012 

Contact details