Half of MPs now come from comprehensive background

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
Privileged? The proportion of privately educated MPs is now 29 per cent – still much higher than national average (Image: Adobe Stock)

More than half of MPs now have a comprehensive school background after the June 8 General Election.

The education profile of the House of Commons has been changed notably with the influx of 98 new MPs.

A briefing from social mobility charity the Sutton Trust shows that 51 per cent of MPs now have a comprehensive school background – a rise from 43 per cent in 2015.

And the number of privately educated MPs has fallen from 32 per cent in 2015 to 29 per cent now – although this is still much higher than the national average of around seven per cent.

Of the 98 new MPs, two-thirds went to a comprehensive school while one-fifth were educated at a private school.

Of the MPs within the Conservative Party, which has formed a minority government with support from the DUP in Northern Ireland, 45 per cent were privately educated. This compares to 14 per cent of Labour’s MPs and six per cent of the SNP’s members.

The briefing, entitled Parliamentary Privilege – The MPs 2017, is based on information on the background of 626 of the 650 MPs now sitting in the House of Commons.

The report states: “By examining the educational backgrounds of leading figures in British public life, the Sutton Trust hopes to highlight the importance of social mobility and equal opportunities, especially in the top professions.

“While the backgrounds of MPs are gradually becoming more like the population, the pace of change is slow. The social backgrounds of MPs are still vastly different to those of the general population, which may mean that the concerns and priorities of all parts of society are not adequately reflected in Parliament.

“Additionally, MPs are ultimately responsible for national education policy, and it is therefore concerning if a large number of MPs do not have experience of the state education system.”
Sir Peter Lampl, chairman and founder of the Sutton Trust, added: “The landscape of British politics (has) changed considerably. This is reflected in the educational profile of the House of Commons where there has been an increase in the numbers of state-educated MPs.

“However, MPs are still four times as likely to have been to a fee-paying school than a state school. If Parliament is to truly represent the nation as a whole, able people from all backgrounds should have the opportunity to become MPs.”


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