Skip to main content

Garnett, Mark 1963-

GARNETT, Mark 1963-


Born 1963.


Office—University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester LE1 7RH, England.


Political scientist and author. University of Leicester, visiting fellow in politics.


Principles and Politics in Contemporary Britain, Longman (London, England), 1996.

(With Ian Gilmour) Whatever Happened to the Tories: The Conservative Party since 1945, Fourth Estate (London, England), 1997.

(Coeditor with Diane Stone and Andrew Denham) Think Tanks across Nations: A Comparative Approach, Manchester University Press (New York, NY), 1998.

(With Andrew Denham) British Think-Tanks and the Climate of Opinion, UCL Press (London, England), 1998.

Alport: A Study in Loyalty, Teddington (London, England), 1999.

(With Andrew Denham) Keith Joseph, Acumen (Chesham, England), 2001.

(With Ian Aitken) Splendid! Splendid! The Authorized Biography of Willie Whitelaw, Jonathan Cape (London, England), 2002.

(With Richard Weight) The A-Z Guide to Modern British History, Jonathan Cape (London, England), 2003.

(With Philip Lynch) The Conservatives in Crisis: The Tories after 1997, Manchester University Press (Manchester, England), 2003.

Contributor to The Conservatives and British Society, 1800-1990, edited by Martin Francis and Ian Zweiniger-Bargielowska.


A biographer, historian, and political analyst, Mark Garnett has published works on Tory politicians, the impact of think tanks on British politics, and the history of the Conservative Party in Britain. In 1996 he published Principles and Politics in Contemporary Britain, which examines the growing impact of ideas on political parties, particularly the Conservative Party, which had long been suspicious of "wooly minded" political theorizing and ideology. The book covers the rise of Thatcherism—so named for former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher—and the impact of often doctrinaire monetarism and free market ideology in the new politics of Britain. For Times Literary Supplement contributor David Willetts, "Garnett starts off on the right foot by recognizing that all politicians operate within some sort of framework of ideas, even if they do not acknowledge it. But he fails to identify or explain a change which does seem to have taken place over the past few decades: the ideological substructure of politics has become more explicit and open." But Choice reviewer M. Curtis found that "the book is clearly written without jargon, and compares favorably with other recent commentaries."

With Ian Gilmour, a one-time rising star in the Conservative Party, Garnett takes an historical view of the British right in Whatever Happened to the Tories: The Conservative Party since 1945. In this book, Garnett and Gilmour trace the change in the party from the easy-going though sometimes defeatist grandees of an earlier era to the more driven, more humorless ideologues that dominate it today. In British Think-Tanks and the Climate of Opinion, he and coauthor Andrew Denham explore one of the reasons for that change. As reviewer Ziauddin Sardar explained in the New Statesman, "Denham and Garnett provide a gripping account of the evolution and work of British think-tanks, and their conclusion is surprising: the difference think-tanks have made to our political landscapes is far from beneficial. Indeed, they have tended to undermine democracy and generate false ideas about consensus and reform."

In Keith Joseph, commended by New Statesman reviewer John Cray for setting a "new standard for political biography," Garnett and Denham explore one of the most important figures in transforming the Tories into ideologues. A cabinet minister in the government of Prime Minister Edward Heath, who governed from 1970 to 1974, Keith Joseph ultimately disavowed the pragmatic conservatism of that era in favor of a more ideologically pure devotion to free market principles and traditional family values, a devotion embraced by Margaret Thatcher and ultimately the Conservative Party as a whole. "Denham and Garnett have given us one of the very few worthwhile studies of the role of ideas in politics," noted Cray in his review. In Splendid! Splendid! The Authorized Biography of Willie Whitelaw, Garnett and coauthor Ian Aitken take on a more pragmatic politician. A World War II hero, Whitelaw seemed cut out of the traditional mold of Tory politician. As deputy leader under Thatcher, who beat him in a struggle for party leadership, he acted as a restraining influence on her government. As Malcolm Rifkind, himself a colleague of Whitelaw's in Thatcher's government, noted in the New Statesman, the authors "bring out, very well, that behind Whitelaw's affable and amiable manner was a clever, calculating and impressive politician."



Choice, November, 1996, M. Curtis, review of Principles and Politics in Contemporary Britain, pp. 529-530.

Contemporary Review, February, 2004, review of The A-Z Guide to Modern British History, p. 124.

New Statesman, November 7, 1997, Alan Clark, review of Whatever Happened to the Tories: The Conservative Party since 1945, p. 42; April 9, 1999, Ziauddin Sardar, review of British Think-Tanks and the Climate of Opinion, p. 49; April 23, 2001, John Cray, "Mad Monk," p. 54; October 7, 2002, Malcolm Rifkind, "Everyone Needs a Willie," p. 48.

Parliamentary Affairs, April, 1997, David Denver, review of Principles and Politics in Contemporary Britain, p. 314.

Spectator, September 28, 2002, Peregrine Worsthorne, "Too Much and Too Late," p. 71.

Times Literary Supplement, November 22, 1996, David Willetts, "Doing Battle with Ideas," p. 30; June 25, 1999, John Ramsden, "Rab's Spaniel," p. 31.*

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Garnett, Mark 1963-." Contemporary Authors. . 23 Jan. 2019 <>.

"Garnett, Mark 1963-." Contemporary Authors. . (January 23, 2019).

"Garnett, Mark 1963-." Contemporary Authors. . Retrieved January 23, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.