According to a report just published by the Sutton Trust, almost a third of new parliamentary candidates with a reasonable chance of winning seats in the general election were privately educated and one in five attended either Oxford or Cambridge universities
“This research shows that the next house of commons is unlikely to reflect any more social diversity than the current crop of MPs,” said Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Sutton Trust, the charity which campaigns for equal access to education.
RT reports: The report, called Parliamentary Privilege, found that nearly 50 percent of Conservative candidates were privately educated, whereas only 19 percent of Labour’s and 36 percent of UKIP’s had been to independent schools.
The figures roughly mirror the backgrounds of current MPs, where 33 percent were privately educated. In the current parliament 52 percent of Conservatives, 10 percent of Labour and 41 percent of Liberal Democrats were all privately educated.
The report called the findings “problematic.”
“As previously, the chances of being in a position to be elected to government are much higher for those few people fortunate enough to have attended fee-paying independent schools.”
“This is problematic both in that it is symptomatic of low levels of social mobility in Britain, and in its implications for the diversity of experience within parliament.”
The Sutton Trust also examined the universities attended by candidates and MPs. Some 18 and of Labour and 28 percent Conservative candidates attended Oxbridge, compared with only one UKIP candidate.
This is only marginally lower that the current parliament, of which 17 percent of Labour, 32 percent of Conservative and 41 percent of Liberal Democrat MPs attended the UK’s most distinguished educational institutions.
The majority of candidates, 55 percent, went to a Russell Group university, but the report says this is “less of a concern” as universities in that group “accept reasonable proportions of less privileged students.”
Only 10 percent of parliamentary candidates did not have a degree, which compared to the national population figure of 62 percent.