Election 2015: Expert analysis with Dr. Kate Dommett

Dr. Kate Dommett is a lecturer in the Public Understanding of Politics at the University of Sheffield. She is an advocate of political engagement and will be providing expert analysis as results are declared at counts across our region.

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  1. Dr. Kate Dommett

Will new MPs be more representative?

Tonight has had many high profile causalities. Vince Cable, Jim Murphy, Ed Davey, Esther McVey, Simon Hughes, Douglas Alexander to name but a few.

This means that many of the familiar faces in British politics will no longer be part of the political scene and new faces will be on the agenda. But it is not yet clear what this will mean for the composition of the House of Commons.

Parliament is not representative of the country's population. It has been dominated by white, middle class, highly educated men. Post 2010 51% of MPs were aged over 50, only 4.2% were from non-white backgrounds and over 1/3 went to fee paying schools.

Just 22.5% of MPs were women but these were distributed differently across the parties. Labour have traditionally had the most female MPs with 31%, the Tories have had 16% whilst the Lib Dems have 12%.

With the collapse of the Lib Dem vote a number of women such as Jo Swinson and Lynne Featherstone have lost seats. Simultaneously, we have seen new female SNP candidates being elected, but this has been accompanied by the election of many more white, male MPs. As the results roll in it is worth thinking about the representativeness of Parliament and whether, once the MPs return to Westminster, the Commons will look any more like the country it serves.

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