We were visited today by Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP, Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons, who presented an assembly to Year 10 and then took part in Parklands Question Time, where he was grilled on everything from Chorley A&E to North Korea! So, it seems only right to have MP as our Career of the Week …
Member of Parliament, elected representative, constituency representative, politician
MPs represent people’s concerns and interests in the House of Commons.
How to become an MP
You can get into this job through:
- being elected
Volunteering and experience
Most people show their commitment through campaigning and volunteering for their party.
You can get other useful experience from:
- serving as a local councillor
- being active in a trade union
- being involved in student politics
- working as a researcher or caseworker for an existing MP
You become a Member of Parliament (MP) by being elected in a by-election or general election. You can stand for election as a member of a political party or as an independent candidate.
Each political party has its own selection procedure. Normally, you must get the support of your party’s nominating officer before you can become the prospective candidate.
To stand for election, you’ll need to be nominated by at least 10 electors from the constituency you wish to represent. You must also pay a £500 deposit. This is returned to you if you get more than 5% of the total votes cast in your constituency.
As a candidate during an election, you’ll be expected to campaign in public and online, attend meetings, make speeches and talk to the local media. You’ll find it helpful to have some experience in one or more of these areas.
You’ll need a good understanding of local and national issues, and be up to date with current affairs.
You can find more advice about becoming an MP from UK Parliament.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- legal knowledge including court procedures and government regulations
- knowledge of English language
- analytical thinking skills
- excellent verbal communication skills
- knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
- the ability to read English
- the ability to use your initiative
- maths knowledge
- being able to use a computer terminal or hand-held device may be beneficial for this job.
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
- be a British citizen, a citizen of a Commonwealth country or the Republic of Ireland
- be over 18 years of age
Certain people are not allowed to stand as an MP, for example someone convicted of electoral fraud. You can check with the Electoral Commissionfor more information about this.
What you’ll do
You’ll attend sessions in Parliament and:
- vote on new laws and policies
- raise constituents’ concerns with relevant ministers
- debate issues and raise questions
Outside Parliament, you’ll
- talk to businesses and schools about local, national and international issues
- speak to the media
- attend meetings and conferences
- hold surgeries and advice sessions in your constituency
You could work in government.
Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding and you’ll travel often and spend nights away from home.
Career path and progression
General elections are held every 5 years, so it can take a long time to be elected MP.
With experience, you may get the opportunity to take on extra responsibilities like chairing committees and moving into more senior positions like party whip or even party leader.
If your political party is in power, you could go from junior minister to minister and then cabinet minister. If your party is in opposition, you could be a spokesperson on certain issues or have responsibilities in a shadow cabinet.