The proportion of Members of Parliament attending independent schools has increased following the General Election – reversing the downward trend during recent decades, a study by the Sutton Trust reveals.

Over one third (35%) of MPs elected for the 2010 Parliament attended fee-paying schools, which educate just 7% of the school population. The proportion of MPs attending independent schools for the previous 2005 Parliament was 32%. A major factor behind the increase in the rise is the higher number of Conservative MPs – who are much more likely than their Labour peers to have been privately-schooled.

Sir Peter Lampl, Chairman of the Sutton Trust, said: “These results show clearly that the educational profile of our representatives in the 2010 Parliament does not reflect society at large. There are many factors that determine the make-up of Parliament, but one major obstacle to ensuring talented people from all backgrounds reach public office is the educational inequality that continues to hold back social mobility in this country. Every newly elected MP would surely hope that the chances that bright children in their own constituencies have of becoming an MP does not depend on how much their parents earn and where they happen to go to school”.

The study shows that 54% of Conservative MPs attended fee paying schools, compared with 40% of Liberal Democrat MPs, and 15% of Labour MPs. The review, which has gathered school information on 620 (96%) of the newly elected and re-elected MPs, also finds that there are 20 Etonians in the 2010 Parliament – 5 more than those who served in the 2005 Parliament.

The review documents how serving as a Member of Parliament has largely become a graduate profession. Nine in ten MPs in 2010 went to university – by far the highest proportion of any Parliament to date. This includes just under three in ten who were educated at either Oxford or Cambridge universities. Oxford has produced 102 MPs serving in the 2010 Parliament.

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