How well does our Parliament represent us? Public faith in our democratic institutions can be undermined by the sense that powerful interests have more traction than the public interest. The stereotype of MPs as wealthy, white, men with law degrees or union backgrounds carries with it the implication that the outcomes of parliamentary business benefit those with the same background. But is there truth to the stereotype?
In this Per Capita research paper Abigail Lewis asks whether there is an established ‘way in’ to Parliament, whether MPs overwhelmingly come from the same demographic backgrounds, schools, and career paths, and whether this might have implications for policy. It tracks how representative Parliament was in 1988 and how representative it became over the next thirty years, and asks whether Parliament has become more representative in response to advocacy for quotas and other redistributions of power and influence.