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Student’s essay wins seal of approval from Cabinet Secretary

A prize-winning essay by a Strand Group student was described as ‘superbly written’ by the Cabinet Secretary.

Patrick Law’s in-depth assessment of the lead-up to the Brexit referendum of 2016 was commended and chosen as the Cabinet Secretary’s favourite from among the MA students who took The Strand Group’s modules in association with No.10 Downing Street.

To celebrate his achievement, Patrick was invited to the Cabinet Office to meet the Cabinet Secretary, Simon Case, to discuss the essay.

Simon said: “This is a great course and I enjoyed the opportunity to read a selection of the highest scoring essays. Congratulations to Patrick for producing an excellent essay that was both high rated academically and was written superbly so as to be engaging for any reader”.

As part of his MA in Politics and Contemporary History with the Department of Political Economy, Patrick took three modules with the Strand Group, The History of the Prime Minister 1945 – 1979The History of the Prime Minister 1979-2019 (both in partnership with No.10 Downing Street) and The Blair Years.

The modules are run by Professor Jon Davis and Dr Michelle Clement and both were full of praise for Patrick’s efforts.

Professor Davis said: “Some in the Conservative Party felt that Cameron wasn’t ‘one of them’ but at the same time, they knew that he had power and he was still prime minister. There was this extreme juxtaposition which Patrick captured so well.”

Patrick, a former corporate communications specialist, was inspired to take the MA by a friend and said he chose the Brexit referendum for his essay in an effort to help him better understand the process and the circumstances that had led to the outcome.

Patrick said;  “This was such a wonderful essay prize. I really enjoyed meeting Simon Case. I realised the referendum was such an enormous event in British politics that I had lived through and didn’t understand, and I felt that I needed to sort it out and work through what I really thought about it.”

Before embarking on the essay, Patrick thought former prime minister Cameron’s main consideration in pursuing the referendum was political. But by the end, he concedes that Cameron was using the referendum to grapple with difficult European policy dilemmas as well, particularly the impact of the Euro Crisis. It was Cameron’s appetite for risk, Patrick concludes, that led him to believe both the political and policy dilemmas could both be resolved by holding a referendum.