University of Bath

Party cohesion and dynamic cross-party communities of UK Members of Parliament

Dr Iulia Cioroianu presents recent collaborative research on party cohesion in the UK and MP social media networks.

29 Jan 20191.15pm
29 Jan 20192.05pm
Coding web map with black, blue, red and yellow circles
The study takes a deep look at the MP Twitter networks during the Brexit referendum.

The work presented in this seminar was co-authored with Iain Weaver, Gabriel Katz and Susan Banducci from the Q-Step Centre, University of Exeter, and Felix von Nostitz from ESPOL, Lille. It was funded by an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) grant ES/N012283/1.

Building upon recent developments in network analysis, the authors propose an alternative method for measuring party cohesion which is based on social media data. Using tweeting and re-tweeting activity, they analyse the social networks formed by UK Members of Parliament and the way these networks change over time.

This study focuses on the key drivers and evolution of party cohesion in the UK over a 40-week period from the 2015 elections to the European Union membership referendum. The method provides enough temporal variation to allow for a detailed examination of the dynamics of intra and inter-party interactions. The authors find that the structure of the communities formed by MPs through their social media interactions provides a fine-grained measure of party cohesion which is more sensitive to political events and shocks than existing measures of party cohesion.