Sir Ivor Martin Crewe DL FAcSS (born 15 December 1945) was until 2020 the Master of University College, Oxford, and President of the Academy of Social Sciences. He was previously Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex and also a Professor in the Department of Government at Essex.

Sir Ivor Crewe
Ivor Crewe.jpg
Sir Ivor Crewe at the 2014 Eights Week, on the River Thames in Oxford.
Master of University College, Oxford
In office
Preceded byLord Butler of Brockwell
Succeeded byValerie Amos, Baroness Amos
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex
In office
Preceded byRon Johnston
Succeeded byColin Riordan
Personal details
Born (1945-12-15) 15 December 1945 (age 76)
England, UK
Spouse(s)Jill Crewe
ChildrenDeborah Crewe, Ben Crewe, Daniel Crewe
Alma materExeter College, Oxford
The Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall at the University of Essex, completed in 2006.

The son of Jewish refugees from Czechoslovakia and Germany,[1] Crewe was educated at Manchester Grammar School and then went to Exeter College, Oxford, where he gained a first-class BA in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics in 1966. In 1968 he received his MSc (Econ.) from the London School of Economics and Political Science where he earned the SSRC (now, the ESRC) post-graduate award. He was appointed as an Assistant Lecturer in Politics at Lancaster University at the age of 21, before returning to Oxford in 1969 for two years as a Junior Research Fellow, thereafter moving to a Lectureship at the Department of Government at the University of Essex in 1971.

At Essex, Crewe was director of the ESRC Data Archive from 1974 to 1982, and co-director of the British Election Study from 1973-81. With Dr David Rose, he established the British Household Panel Study and founded the Institute of Social and Economic Research at Essex in 1990. From 1977-82, Crewe was editor of the British Journal of Political Science and from 1984-92 he was a co-editor.[citation needed]

Crewe undertook extensive research from the early 1970s to the mid-1990s in elections and voting behaviour, and published his results in Decade of Dealignment (1983, with Bo Sarlvik) and numerous articles, including the influential 'Partisan Dealignment in Britain 1964–74', British Journal of Political Science, 7(2), pp. 129–90 (with Bo Sarlvik and James Alt), which argued that voters' identification with the Conservative and Labour Parties was steadily weakening as a result of the decline in class loyalty and in the connections voters made between class interests and party policies.[citation needed]

He was a frequent commentator on UK elections for television and the press. He argued that the Labour Party was destined for electoral defeat as the traditional working class contracted unless it both appealed to a wider social constituency embracing other classes and revised its assumptions about the policies that would appeal to a majority of voters. He regarded the electoral success of New Labour in the 1997 and 2001 general elections as a vindication of his electoral analysis.[citation needed]

In 1995 he published (with Anthony King) a study of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), a breakaway from the Labour Party, which for him represented a symptom of the crumbling of the old foundations of Britain's two-party system.[citation needed]

From 1995 to 1 September 2007, Crewe was the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex and is a former Chair of the 1994 Group and President of Universities UK.[citation needed] As President of UUK from 2003 to 2005, he mobilised university Vice-Chancellors in favour of the Government's proposal to introduce tuition fees.[citation needed]

Crewe was appointed Knight Bachelor in the 2006 New Year Honours.[2] In July 2008, Crewe succeeded Lord Butler of Brockwell as Master of University College, Oxford. In 2013 Crewe and King published The Blunders of our Governments, a study of major failures of public policy in modern Britain. Peter Preston's review in The Guardian commented "It should be a deeply distressing account of blunders past, present and pending from two of our most brilliant political analysts, but in fact you have to smile gallantly through many of the disasters that throng 400 or more of these pages".[3]

Named in his honour and designed by the architect Patel Taylor, the Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall at the University of Essex was completed in 2006.[4] The building was nominated for a Civic Trust Award in 2008.[5]

Crewe has three children: Deborah, Ben and Daniel. He has five grandchildren: Hannah, Ruby, Esther, Eva and Joseph.


  1. ^ William D. Rubinstein, Michael Jolles, Hilary L. Rubinstein, The Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo-Jewish History, Palgrave Macmillan (2011), p. 188
  2. ^ "University honours Vice-Chancellor". University of Essex. 3 April 2007. Archived from the original on 11 February 2008. Retrieved 29 February 2008.
  3. ^ Preston, Peter (21 September 2013). "The Blunders of Our Governments by Anthony King and Ivor Crewe – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 April 2016.
  4. ^ Staff (10 June 2008). "Shining light in Essex: Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall". World Architecture News.
  5. ^ Staff (10 March 2008). "Lecture hall shortlisted for award" (Press release). Colchester, Essex: University of Essex. Archived from the original on 26 March 2017. Retrieved 21 February 2015.


  • Ivor Crewe, 'The Electorate: Partisan Dealignment Ten Years On (1984)', West European Politics, 6(4), pp. 183–215.
  • Ivor Crewe, 'Has the Electorate Become Thatcherite?', in Robert Skidelsky (ed.), Thatcherism (Chatto & Windus, 1988), pp. 25–49.
  • Ivor Crewe, 'Values: The Crusade that Failed' in Dennis Kavanagh and Anthony Seldon (eds.), The Thatcher Effect (Oxford University Press, 1989), pp. 239–50.
  • Ivor Crewe, 'Margaret Thatcher: As the British Saw Her', The Public Perspective, Vol. 2(2), January/February 1991, pp. 15–17.
  • Ivor Crewe, 'The Thatcher legacy', in Anthony King (ed.), Britain at the Polls, 1992 (Chatham House, 1992), pp. 1–28.
  • Ivor Crewe, 'Electoral Behaviour' in Dennis Kavanagh and Anthony Seldon (eds.), The Major Effect (Macmillan, 1994), pp. 99–121.
  • Ivor Crewe and Anthony King, SDP: The Birth, Life and Death of the British Social Democratic Party (Oxford University Press, 1995).
  • Ivor Crewe and Anthony King, The Blunders of our Governments (Oneworld Publications, 2013).

External linksEdit

Academic offices
Preceded by Master of University College, Oxford
Succeeded by