New Research Published on the Next Generation of MPs

The Class of 2010,contains a unique analysis of the likely next generation of MPs and compares them to those elected in 1997.It profiles 242 of the Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPCs) most likely to be elected at the next UK General Election.
July 6, 2009 - PRLog -- 'The Class of 2010' is the most detailed report yet produced on candidates. It looks at what will be the biggest shakeup of the UK Parliament since Labour's landslide victory in 1997. With extensive constituency boundary changes, 82 MPs retiring (a figure constantly rising) and a sustained Conservative Party lead in national opinion polls, there will undoubtedly be a high turnover of MPs at the next election.

The report suggests that:

Gender - The next election will see proportionately fewer female candidates fighting winnable seats than there were at the 1997 General Election.

Age  - There will be little change in the age profile of new MPs, with those in their 40s still forming the largest group.

Ethnicity - There will be a higher number of candidates from ethnic minority backgrounds, but Parliament will still not proportionately reflect the UK population.

Education - There will be a marked increase in the proportion of new MPs who were privately educated, compared with the last intake in 1997.

Career Background - The next House of Commons will have a greater private sector focus (as opposed to public sector). More MPs will have backgrounds in the media, business, financial services, law, communications and management consultancy; in contrast there will be dramatically fewer teachers, academics and trade unionists.

Although the report does not cover the latest wave of future resignations from Parliament, the number of likely winnable candidates still to be selected still only amounts to around 10% of the overall number. It is apparent that these selections will take many months to be confirmed. It is not expected that these future additions will radically change the overall characteristics of this new generation.

Tim Carr, Partner at Madano said: "Overall it appears that the next generation of MPs will be overwhelmingly male with the majority again in their 40s. More will be Black and Asian than ever before and significantly more will have been independently educated. Although people have increasingly varied careers it looks as if there will generally be more with a private sector background than in 1997, with more future MPs from business, the media and consultancy and dramatically fewer teachers and trade unionists".

Notes to editors

The findings of the report are based upon 242 candidates consisting of:
   * the top 140 Conservative target seats (those candidates that would be elected were the Conservatives to achieve a uniform national swing of 7% which would give a small nominal Conservative majority of up to 15 seats)
   * the top 20 Labour target seats
   * the top 20 Liberal Democrat target seats
   * a handful of target seats for the other smaller parties
   * candidates that have been selected to stand in seats where the sitting MP is standing down (27 still to be selected) and new seats/seats that have notionally changed hands as a result of the Parliamentary boundary changes (the boundary changes at the next General Election mean that only 55 constituencies in England and Wales are wholly unchanged).

Target seat data is drawn from Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher, Media Guide to the New Parliamentary Constituencies, LGC Elections Centre, University of Plymouth for BBC, ITN, Sky News and PA News, 2007, and is used with their kind permission.

Because the representative sample figures, particularly for Labour and the Liberal Democrats, are only relatively small, any comments on trends should be treated with caution.

The full report published by The Madano Partnership is available for purchase. Please visit for details.

More detailed observations:

The figures suggest that far from improving, the gender imbalance in Parliament will get worse in 2010. Although 34% (82) of the total 242 candidates are female, up from 28% (71) of the 256 newly elected MPs at the 1997 General Election who were female, when only considering the Conservatives candidates, the figure drops to 27% (44 out of 165), compared with 35% or 64 of the new Labour MPs in 1997 who were women. Exactly 50% of both the Labour (23 out of 46) and Liberal Democrat (13 out of 26) candidates featured in the report are female, but relatively few of these are expected to be elected at the next General Election.

There is virtually no change in the age profile of likely successful candidates since 1997. Those in their 40s still form the largest grouping (45% of those known in 2010 compared to 46% in 1997), followed by the 30-somethings (29% of known in 2010, the same as in 1997). Overall, there are eight candidates featured in 'The Class of 2010' report who are currently still in their 20s.

Ethnic Diversity
The overall number of BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) candidates likely to be successful has increased dramatically from 2% in 1997 to 7.4% in 2010. There are nine black or minority ethnic Conservative candidates featured in 'The Class of 2010' equating to 5% (9) of its likely successful candidates (165). Although highly unlikely to all be elected, of the Labour and Lib Dem candidates featured, BME candidates comprise 17% (8 out of 46) of the Labour candidates. None of the 26 Lib Dem candidates featured in this report can be considered as having a BME background.

With the proportion of new MPs with a BME background increasing, this will consequently improve the overall proportion of MPs who consider themselves to be from a BME background in the House of Commons. However, even with this improvement at the next General Election, the Commons will still have some way to go in order to proportionally reflect the UK population. The most recent census data (which is now clearly quite old) from the 2001 census puts the proportion of British citizens not from the ethnic group described as 'white' at 7.9% (Office of National Statistics).

Whilst more detailed research will be required, there is a clear trend with a marked increase in the number of likely successful candidates who were privately or independently educated - up by as much as three times the 1997 figure.

The figures suggest that roughly a third (29%) of winnable candidates in 2010 will have attended private or independent schools. When considering only those candidates where we have identified their school, the figure for private or independently educated is even higher at 38%; this compares to 13% in 1997.

Career background
Overall, it appears that there will be a general shift towards MPs who have an employment background predominantly rooted in the private sector rather than the public sector. Those candidates with a background in consultancy (up from 4% to 16%), business, finance, law, and agriculture (as well as the third sector - Charities and NGOs) are all up in 2010 in comparison with the 1997 intake. Those with a teaching/education, trade union and health/medicine background are all down from 12 years ago.

These changes appear to be stark when broken down by party. 22% (40) of the Labour intake of 1997 were teachers or lecturers, but only about 4% (7) of the likely new Conservative MPs have a career background in education. Similarly, 8% (15) of new Labour MPs in 1997 worked for the NHS/medicine, but only 1% of the likely new Conservative intake.

Eight former MPs
There are four former Labour MPs (Geraint Davies - formerly Croydon Central, Andy King - formerly Rugby & Kenilworth, Phil Sawford - formerly Kettering and best known, Stephen Twigg - formerly Enfield Southgate), two Conservatives (Peter Duncan - Galloway & Upper Nithsdale and Jonathan Evans - Brecon & Radnor), one Liberal Democrat (Sue Doughty - Guildford) and one SNP (Annabelle Ewing - Perth).

Three former MEPs
There are also three Conservative MEPs who are standing down from the European Parliament at the forthcoming EU elections and seeking a transfer to Westminster - Jonathan Evans (previously mentioned as a former MP as well), Chris Heaton-Harris and Neil Parish.

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Madano is a communications consultancy which is anchored in traditional values but with an unremittingly modern outlook. These underlying values: commitment, fairness and responsiveness – direct everything we do.
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