What happens to politicians when they leave office? What is the experience of losing political office? How do former politicians adjust? What do they do? How are partners affected? Why care? Relatively little is known about political exit — the academic literature is limited and the public debate deafening in its silence, other than a few journalistic articles immediately post-election. Keane (2011) describes the subject as ‘under-theorized, under-researched and under-appreciated’.
This seminar on the experience of losing political office drew on an empirical research study with 30 national and local elected politicians, including 20 who had left office, either having been defeated in an election or having chosen not to stand for election again and where possible, their partners. In her talk, Jane considered the findings from both a psychological and sociological perspective and the wider implications for representative democracy. Arguing that for a healthy, sustainable democracy, the route into and out of political office should be less problematic.
Recording of the talk
Jane Roberts is a Research Fellow in Public Leadership at The Open University Business School. A medical doctor, she was a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist in London for over 20 years until the end of 2016 with experience of healthcare management in the NHS as Medical Director and Director of Quality and Performance at Islington Primary Care Trust. She was Leader of the London Borough of Camden from 2000 to 2005. She chaired the Councillors Commission for the Department of Communities and Local Government (2007 to 2009) and amongst other roles, she chairs the think tank New Local Government Network.