Diversity in the 2017 Parliament

Since the General Election a number of media reports have highlighted the growing diversity of MPs. This post brings together information from a number of sources.

In many cases this is in advance, or in the absence of official information on these topics. Some figures are only estimated by outside bodies – characteristics like disability and ethnicity are self-defined and aren’t measured by official sources.

Men and women

Of 650 MPs elected in the 2017 election, 208 (32%) are women. Both the number of women and the percentage are record highs. In 2015 there were 17 fewer women MPs, 191, which was 29%.

Women MPs in 2017

 

Educational background

The Sutton Trust analysed the educational background of those MPs elected in June 2017. Based on available information, the Trust reckons that 29% of MPs were privately educated, 51% went to comprehensive schools and 18% went to selective state grammar schools. Two-thirds (67%) of Labour MPs attended comprehensive schools, compared to over one-third (38%) of Conservative MPs and 88% of SNP MPs.

45% of all Conservative MPs were privately educated, compared to 14% of Labour MPs and 6% of SNP MPs.

Out of those MPs who were privately educated, 20 (more than one in 10) went to Eton, the highest number of MPs educated at a single school.

The Trust also highlights the differences in educational backgrounds of male and female MPs. 32% of male MPs are privately educated, compared to 24% of female MPs.

Almost nine out of 10 (89%) of MPs are graduates. 23% hold an Oxbridge degree, down from 26% in 2015, while a further 29% went to another Russell Group university. Oxford has continued its tradition of producing politicians; there are almost double (98) the number of Oxford alumni among 2017 MPs than graduates of Cambridge (52).

Ethnicity

There is no official data on the ethnic background of MPs. However, British Future and Operation Black Vote reckon that following the 2017 election there are now 52 non-white MPs, 8% of the total and a record number.

13% of women MPs are from an ethnic minority, compared to 6% of men; 12% of Labour MPs are from an ethnic minority compared to 6% of Conservative MPs.

BME MPs in 2017 by party and gender

 

Religion

Information on the religious beliefs of all MPs isn’t available, however according to Muslim News there are 15 Muslim MPs, 12 returned from the previous Parliament and three newly-elected in 2017.

The first female Sikh MP, Preet Gill (Birmingham Edgbaston), was elected in 2017.

Disability

There is no monitoring of disability of candidates or MPs. The Guardian reported that the new House of Commons will include five disabled MPs following the election of two new Labour MPs. Marsha de Cordova (Battersea) is registered blind and Jared O’Mara (Sheffield Hallam) has cerebral palsy. Lib Dem MP Stephen Lloyd, who is deaf, returns after losing his seat in 2015.

Conservative MPs from the 2015 Parliament, Robert Halfon, who has cerebral palsy and osteoarthritis, and Paul Maynard, who also has cerebral palsy, were re-elected.

LGBT

According to Andrew Reynolds, Professor of Politics at University of North Carolina, the UK House of Commons has 45 openly LGBT MPs: 19 Conservative, 19 Labour and 7 SNP.

To date no openly trans person has been elected to the House of Commons. Labour’s Sophie Cook probably came closest in 2017. She received 39% of the votes in East Worthing and Shoreham, 5,106 votes behind the Conservatives with a 49% share. Ms Cook came out as transgender in 2015.

 

Our Social background of MPs note has historical trends from 1979 to 2015. It will be updated in the coming weeks.

Picture credit:  London – Big Ben by Chris Aitken –  Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)