Ellen Burke


I completed my BA (Hons) in International History and Politics at the University of Leeds, and I was lucky enough to complete an Erasmus year abroad as part of my undergraduate degree at Katholieke Universiteit (KU) Leuven in Belgium. 

During my final year, I specialised in UK foreign policy during Margaret Thatcher’s premiership. My dissertation, titled An Insoluble Problem? Gibraltar and Anglo-Spanish Relations, 1979–1986, focused on Britain’s relationship with Spain during her transition to democracy after the death of Franco, and how far the Gibraltar problem impeded British ideological interests under the Thatcher government, with regards to the European Economic Community and NATO.

Research interests

I am now completing an MA By Research, focusing on British foreign policy during John Major’s first term (1990–1992). The world was changing rapidly in the 1990s with the end of the Cold War and the transition to a post-Cold War world. Specifically in Britain, Margaret Thatcher departed from office as relations were deteriorating with both Europe and the United States after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Therefore, I am investigating Major’s ability to repair these relations, and if the course of British foreign policy significantly diverged from the path his predecessor set.


  • BA (Hons), International History and Politics (International), University of Leeds