Labour is growing out of touch with working class people because many of their MPs are ‘posh career politicians’

LABOUR is growing out of touch with the working class because too many MPs are posh career politicians, a report claims.

The modern breed of party bigwigs are accused of doing less to help traditional supporters as they devise policies to win over floating voters.

Author Dr Tom O'Grady
Dr Tom O’Grady believes career MPs are more likely to make it into the Labour party

It means that the poorest in society have less influence on what Labour does to improve their lives.

Seven out of 10 Labour MPs were from working-class backgrounds when the party first achieved political success in the 1920s. But that has declined to below one in 10 today.

Career politicians are now the largest group in Parliament – outnumbering MPs from private, public, voluntary and financial sectors.

The impact of the decline in working-class MPs is laid bare in a study of speeches and policies spanning 30 years by academics at UCL.

Jeremy Corbyn
Tom O’Grady believes careerist Labour MPs would struggle in Corbyn’s party between supporting leadership to move up in the ranks or opposing policies
Getty Images – Getty

It found that as the ranks of career politicians with no “real world” experience grew, their policy shifted towards the middle classes.

Report author Tom O’Grady, a political science lecturer, said: “Put bluntly, careerist MPs are much more likely to blow with the political winds.”

He added: “Political parties once consisted of politicians drawn from a broad range of classes and occupations, including manual trades.

“Today, many political parties are dominated by middle-class professional politicians with little experience outside of politics itself. Working-class people find it increasingly difficult to enter politics.”

Jeremy Corbyn
Tom believes too many political parties are dominated by the middle-class
Getty Images – Getty

Before Tony Blair won power in 1997, there was only a modest difference in working-class and careerist positions on welfare reform, the report states.

But during his premiership, the influence of the traditional working-class MP dropped as they geared up for election success.

More people are setting out to become politicians once they leave university because MPs are better paid and there has been a growth in professions linked to politics, such as lobbying. Careerists are more likely to become ministers – giving them a further incentive to enter Parliament.

By contrast, there are fewer working-class MPs because of the decline of trade unions their traditional route to winning a seat.

Dr O’Grady added: “Under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership today, careerists in the Labour party would face an altogether different dilemma – between supporting leadership to move up within internal ranks and opposing leadership if its policies are likely to lose an election.”



 

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