Parliament doesn’t represent our society and is in danger of becoming out of touch. Following the last General Election just 4% of MPs had experience of manual work, while 55% come from backgrounds in PR, politics or the media. For a country with such a proud working class political tradition – that delivered figures like Nye Bevan – this just isn’t good enough.
We need a political system that stands up for working people, rather than being run in the interests of the City and a ruling elite. In order to achieve this, we need to get far greater numbers of women and men in Parliament who know what it is like to get their hands dirty at work or worry about how they will pay the rent.
This means getting ordinary working people back into Parliament to represent the interests of hard pressed families, rather than the current cabal of lawyers, spin doctors and career politicians.
That is why Unite is committed to ending the discrimination against potential MPs from working class backgrounds. We are doing this by identifying potential parliamentary candidates from within the trade union movement, who are genuinely representative of their communities. By giving them intensive training and support we will provide a real platform that gets working people back in to parliament. It’s also good to see that Labour, from the Leader down, is committed to making this happen.
This article first appeared in Wednesday’s edition of Campaign Briefing, CLPD’s daily newsletter at conference.