Open up MPs’ closed shop

May 14, 2015

Nine out of 10 new MPs in the House of Commons are graduates, 26 per cent hold an Oxbridge degree and 28 per cent went to another Russell Group university (“New Commons still has high proportion of Russell Group graduates”, 10 May). More troubling for me, however, is the lack of candidates and potential candidates attracted to politics from professions relating to technology and commerce, whether recruited from humble or privileged backgrounds.

I suspect that family affluence and traditions largely aid the typical parliamentary career progression, through fees for the desirable independent schools, or via neighbourhoods that contain the best performing state schools, so giving access to the more prestigious universities.

Thereafter, politically minded candidates seemingly move on to Oxbridge to study philosophy, politics and economics, law or arts, then move into the traditional professions or directly into earmarked junior political posts.

The trend appears most pronounced among the Conservatives and perhaps relates to traditional social groups dominating the constituency parties in charge of selecting MP candidates.

If a little less so, the other traditional parties still seem similarly captured by this conventional social mobility hindrance.

Perhaps the UK should establish a few prestigious technical universities that would be supportive of the high-quality industrial research and development organisations that could help to improve the social development of the kind of MP candidates necessary for improved parliamentary balance.

W Speedway
Via timeshighereducation.co.uk

Times Higher Education free 30-day trial

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Assistant Recruitment - Human Resources Office

University Of Nottingham Ningbo China

Outreach Officer

Gsm London

Professorship in Geomatics

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu

Professor of European History

Newcastle University

Head of Department

University Of Chichester
See all jobs

Most Commented

men in office with feet on desk. Vintage

Three-quarters of respondents are dissatisfied with the people running their institutions

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes

Canal houses, Amsterdam, Netherlands

All three of England’s for-profit universities owned in Netherlands

As the country succeeds in attracting even more students from overseas, a mixture of demographics, ‘soft power’ concerns and local politics help explain its policy

sitting by statue

Institutions told they have a ‘culture of excluding postgraduates’ in wake of damning study