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So...you want to get into politics.

There are lots of ways to get involved in politics in the UK that don't involved standing for election! 

Do I need a politics degree?

No! In truth, a politics degree can help you better understand the political landscape in the United Kingdom and give you that foundational knowledge to know your way around. But, you don't need one! And, in fact, many experts agree that a degree is no substitute for getting your hands dirty and gaining invaluable experience! 

What kind of experience?

A whole lot of people agree: campaigning is the best way to get experience in politics. Not only do you get used to the "rules of the game" but you'll also gain a true understanding of your local area and, even better, you'll know that the work you're doing could directly impact your friends and family for the better. 

But, there's no 'one' correct way to get elected. You can also: 

  • Get involved in student or local politics
  • Serve as a local councilor
  • Be an active member of your union or trade guild
  • Work for an existing MP as a researcher or caseworker

Becoming an MP

Regardless of your educational, economic, social, or ethnic background, the only way to become an MP is to get elected and each political party has their own procedure of selection. However, it's pretty standard to need the support of your party's nominating officer before you can be a candidate. 

MP career stats:

  • Average Salary: £81,932 + costs
  • Working hours: 44 - 46 hours per week
  • Term length: 5 years or dissolution of parliament
  • Summer break: 45 days for summer

Gender and Ethnic Diversity

No matter how you spin it, the membership breakdown in politics does not represent the population of the UK as a whole. Therefore, if you're of any minority background- woman or female identifying, LGBTQI+, or a religious, cultural, or ethnic minority- your voice is needed

There are currently 220 women, or 34% of 650, Members in the House of Commons. In the House of Lords, there are only 27% or 218 female Peers. In March of 2020, ethnic minority groups made up only 6.3%, or 50 individuals out of 800, as Peers in the House of Lords. In the House of Commons, that number is only 10% or 65 individuals out of 650. If the ethnic make-up of the House of Commons were to reflect that of the UK population in general, there should be nearly 100 members from ethnic minority groups (in 2019, 14.1% of the UK population was defines as 'non-white' or from an ethnic minority). 

So...why should YOU get into politics? Tell us in the comments below and get your question ready for Shaun Bailey on Thursday! 

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2 Mar 2021

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