We’ve carried out this work for several previous general elections, including in 2019 and 2017

Collecting data 

Data is collected from desk-based research, using a range of different sources including (but not limited to):  

  • LinkedIn 
  • Who’s who 
  • Local newspaper reports 
  • Facebook 

Where we are unable to find data publicly online, we contact individuals directly, for example via email, phone, LinkedIn or X (Twitter).  

Where data is not available online, individuals will be contacted directly asking them to provide information on their educational background (school and university).   

Type of data held

For our research into the educational backgrounds of the UK’s Members of Parliament, we simply collect data on the school and university education, gender and age of MPs and candidates.  

Lawful basis for processing

The Sutton Trust processes data on MP and candidate’s educational backgrounds under the following bases: 

Legitimate interests: This is the basis by which we process publicly available data on MPs’ and candidates’ educational backgrounds, and by which we contact MPs’ and candidates directly if educational background information is not publicly available. Conducting this research plays a role in fulfilling the Sutton Trust’s charitable mission of fostering social mobility across the UK. By looking at the educational backgrounds of current MPs and aspiring candidates, we gather valuable insights into how access to politics differs for individuals from different socio-economic backgrounds. This aligns with our goal of promoting social mobility and ensuring that every individual has a chance to thrive irrespective of their socio-economic background. 

Consent: Where data has been provided by an individual directly, it is processed by the Sutton Trust on the basis of consent.  

Confidentiality – Who we share your data with

Where data on an individual is publicly available online, we classify this as “open” data, which can be shared with other researchers on request, as long as we identify a lawful grounds to do so.  

Where data is collected by consent, we will not share it with any third party, other than in an agglomerated and anonymised form, e.g. reporting the proportion of all MPs who attended a private school, or breaks downs within each political party.


Retention Periods 

Data on MPs’ and candidates’ educational backgrounds is stored by the Sutton Trust indefinitely, for historical research purposes, to allow research to be carried out in future examining MP and candidates’ educational backgrounds over time. Where data has been provided by individuals on the basis of their consent, consent can be removed at any time by contacting [email protected], and the data they provided will be deleted. 

Data security 

We take the security of your data very seriously and ensure appropriate technical and organisational measures are in place to protect it against unauthorised or unlawful processing, and against accidental loss,destructionor damage. Your data will at a minimum always be password protected and the number of staff who can access this will be restricted to those for whom access is strictly necessary for the research project.