Skip to main content
Michigan State University

British Isles Free Web Sites: Politics, Government, Contemporary Society

Selective guide to free web sites about the British Isles organized by broad topics: general and history; images and museums; libraries; literature/language; news; politics, government, and contemporary society.

Politics, Government, Contemporary Society

For statistics resources, use Statistics Resources for the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, and Belgium.

Brexit, a  Library Guide to Scholarly Sources

Created by Jim Churchill, International Documents Librarian at University of California, Berkeley, as part of his European Union Guide. The circumstances of the 'Brexit' or Referendum of the United Kingdom's Membership of the European Union are rapidly evolving. At present (June 29, 2016) most scholarly communication has been published by think tanks and governments."Rather than pointing to popular news analyses, Church has collected here official government statements and publications along with responses from a variety of think tanks.”

Brexit Resource Centre

Site offered by the mega-publisher Elsevier.  It offers free access to comprehensive research data, metrics and other online resources to help researchers, institutions, funders and government decision makers within and outside of the U.K. monitor effects of the referendum on the U.K.’s research base, and support decision-making based on this data.

British Government and Politics on the Internet

This web site, offered by Keele University's School of Politics, International Relations and Philosophy in the U.K., offers links to United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Channel Islands, Isle of Man) web sites offering full-text information about the Monarchy; central government agencies, departments, and parapublic bodies; the Prime Minister and Cabinet; Parliament; political parties; the legal system; elections and referenda; think tanks; political groups and causes; media; polls and surveys; political weblogs and comment sites; and other U.K. politically oriented web sites. It is a portal taking the reader to other web sites and online information. Some sites linked to here are official government sites; some are not.

CAIN Bibliography of the Northern Ireland Conflict

This is a resource/database of information on the conflict in Northern Ireland.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The FCO promotes British interests overseas, supporting our citizens and businesses around the globe. It safeguards Britain’s national security by countering terrorism and weapons proliferation, and working to reduce conflict; building Britain’s prosperity by increasing exports and investment, opening markets, ensuring access to resources, and promoting sustainable global growth; and supporting British nationals around the world through modern and efficient consular service.

Institute of Race Relations

The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) was established in the United Kingdom as an independent educational charity in 1958 to carry out research, publish and collect resources on race relations throughout the world. In 1972, the IRR’s membership backed the staff in a radical transformation of the organisation from a policy-oriented, establishment, academic institution into an anti-racist ‘thinktank’. The IRR began to concentrate on responding to the needs of Black people and making direct analyses of institutionalised racism in Britain and the rest of Europe. (For more information on the IRR’s first fifty years, watch the slide show on IRR’s history.) Today, the IRR is at the cutting edge of the research and analysis that inform the struggle for racial justice in Britain, Europe and internationally. It seeks to reflect the experiences of those who suffer racial oppression and draws its perspectives from the most vulnerable in society.

Moving Here: 200 Years of Migration to England

While in the 19th and early 20th centuries it can be said that "the sun never set on the British Empire," the story of those who came to Britain from elsewhere is sometimes overlooked. This is an archive of documents, images, and first-hand narratives from over 30 local, national, and regional museums and libraries around Britain that looks primarily at the Caribbean, Irish, Jewish, and South Asians living in Britain. Begin with the migration histories area.

National Archives: the Cabinet Papers 1915-1982 (U.K.)

Comprehensive access to the Cabinet papers from 1915-1982. The Cabinet is the main body that controls policy and coordinates activities of governmental departments. It is chaired by the Prime Minister and consists of most of the ministerial heads of departments, as well as some additional members. During peacetime it typically consists of 20 members. During the two world wars the size of the Cabinet was reduced to enable rapid decision-making. It proceeds by joint discussion and decision-making, which requires collective responsibility for policy and outcomes. Browse by themes, such as: diplomacy and foreign relations; finance and the economy; total war; empire, commonwealth, and de-colonisation. An interesting section called "Maps in Time" permits examining resources organized geographically in various parts of the 20th century.

New Arrivals

Collaborative project of these newspapers:  The Guardian, Le Monde, El Pais, and Spiegel Online.  Traces how migrants and refugees are settling in Europe in order to understand "whether European society is changing the new arrivals--and vice versa."

Office of Public Sector Information

The Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) is at the heart of information policy, setting standards, providing a practical framework of best practice for opening up and encouraging the re-use of public sector information. It provides a wide range of services to the public, information industry, government and the wider public sector relating to finding, using, sharing and trading information. Part of the Cabinet Office reporting structure it was formerly known as Her Majesty's Stationery Office (HMSO). The Office of Public Sector Information: * has the lead for the UK implementation of the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2005 which come into force on 1st July 2005.

TSO (The Stationery Office) U.K.

TSO (The Stationery Office) provides publishing, document and information management services in multiple formats and media for the [British] public and private sectors. It has 200 years of experience providing fail safe services to Government and Parliament. TSO is also the largest U.K. publisher by volume, publishing more than 15,000 books and electronic products each year.

U.K. Government Web Archive

Comprises over 3 billion URLs from around 3,000 web sites captured from 1996-2014.  Search, browse, or view themed collections.  This is a way to find online publications put out by the various United Kingdom government departments and agencies.

UK in a Changing Europe

UK in a Changing Europe is an independent, nonpartisan research initiative based at King's College London. This initiative explores multiple aspects of the dynamics between the UK and EU, including the impacts of EU policies, attitudes towards the EU, and differences in public opinion among the various regions of the UK.  Facts, analysis section, research papers, video and audio sections.  Directed by Anand Menon, Professor of European Politics and Foreign Affairs at King's College London, and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

United Kingdom Parliament (U.K.)

U.K. Parliament home page offers online copies of documents under discussion, access to Hansard (the spoken records of the House of Commons and House of Lords from 1988-), access to bills before Parliament, access to recent court decisions and appeals, directories of members of Parliament, peers and overseas delegations, links to government committees' web pages, and links to the home pages of the House of Commons, the House of Lords, and to the devolved parliaments and assemblies of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Mostly useful for current material.


Michigan State University