Authors Name: 
James Pow
University: 
Queen's University Belfast
Category: 
Politics & International Relations
Award winner

Still Rising: The Career Politician in the British House of Commons, the Cabinet and the Shadow Cabinet

There has been a perception that politicians in Britain are increasingly detached from the electorate at large by an apparent increase in the number of ‘career politicians’ who have a professional background within politics itself. This article examines the occupational backgrounds of successful candidates to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom between the 1997 and 2010 general elections, making comparisons between the parliamentary compositions of the three main political parties (Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats) during this period, and in terms of the Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet as of 2014. By evaluating secondary and original quantitative data, it will be argued that professionalized politicians have increased in the House of Commons relative to other occupational backgrounds, and are even further disproportionately represented in the senior teams of each major party.