A recent YouGov poll shows that voters overwhelmingly want people from ordinary backgrounds elected to parliament – and far fewer journalists and lawyers.
57% of the public want more factory workers elected to Parliament, joint second with scientists, while 61% want more doctors as MPs.
Reporters and lawyers top the poll for the least popular MP backgrounds, with 48% wanting fewer journalists and 46% fewer lawyers in the House of Commons.
Since 1979, the percentage of MPs who had occupations as manual workers has decreased from 16% 35 years ago to just 4% today. Meanwhile the proportion of MPs from political backgrounds has surged from just over 3% in 1979 to nearly 15% today, while the number of white collar workers and solicitors has also increased.
Perhaps surprisingly, over a quarter of the public want to fewer military officers and social workers elected, while 54% want more economists elected – a potential source disappointment for Modern History graduate George Osborne.
Dividing the results by party background leads to some interesting results. UKIP voters want more factory workers in Parliament, with 62% ranking it the highest priority, while Conservatives overwhelmingly want more doctors (64%) and economists (65%).
Perhaps less surprisingly, Labour supporters primarily want more factory workers in Parliament (72%) as well as GPs (71%), whereas Lib Dems would back more teachers in the Commons (62%) and scientists (63%).
YouGov say the poll reflects the most trusted professions, with journalists ranking among the least popular.
Analysing the poll, YouGov’s William Jordan said: “It’s possible some voters are aware of, and worried about, the recent decline in the number of manual workers in Parliament, and the consistently tiny proportion of MPs that were once doctors or scientists.”
Unfortunately the survey didn’t ask about one profession – bankers. You can probably guess what the result would be (i.e. bad news for former stockbroker Nigel Farage…).