New research published today by the Sutton Trust reveals a major shift in the educational profile of the House of Commons following yesterday’s election.

Overall, of the 650 MPs, 63% were educated at comprehensive schools, which is the highest proportion than ever recorded. This means the new House of Commons is closer to reflecting the 88% of Brits who attended comprehensive schools. In comparison, only 54% of the MPs elected at the 2019 general election went to a comprehensive school, and 52% in 2017.

Most strikingly, there has been a sea change in the proportion of comprehensive-educated MPs holding power. 73% of Labour MPs attended comprehensives, compared to 42% of Conservative MPs elected in 2019.

23% of MPs were independently educated at secondary school, compared to 7% of the population. This is a significant decrease compared to the 29% of MPs at both 2019 and 2017 general elections. 13% of all MPs attended a grammar school, in comparison to 16% of the MPs elected in 2019 and 17% in 2017.

46% of Conservative MPs and 15% of Labour MPs attended independent schools, compared to 41% and 14% respectively in 2019. Of the 126 MPs who went to independent schools, only 4 went to Eton, compared to 11 in 2019.

However, the majority of the House of Commons continue to attend narrow range of universities. 55% attended Russell Group universities (54% in 2019), including 20% who went to Oxford or Cambridge (21% in 2019). It is also notable that 10% of MPs did not take an undergraduate degree, compared to 12% in 2019.

As MPs make decisions that impact all of us, who they are, as well as their backgrounds and experiences, impact on the decisions they make and the issues they choose to prioritise. If MPs come from very similar socio-economic backgrounds, and if their backgrounds look very different to those of the public, there is a risk that the concerns and priorities of all parts of society won’t be adequately reflected in Parliament. Today’s results represent a significant rebalancing in the educational profile of the House of Commons towards closer representation of the public.

To build on this, the Sutton Trust is recommending that all parties review whether their candidate selection processes are open to individuals from all socio-economic backgrounds. They should look at running support schemes and mentoring programmes aimed at increasing the representation of individuals from lower socio-economic backgrounds, similar to existing schemes to improve gender or ethnic diversity. They should also monitor and anonymously report on the socio-economic background of those that apply to become candidates for their party.

Nick Harrison, Chief Executive of the Sutton Trust, said:

“This election represents a sea change in the education backgrounds of the governing party in the new House of Commons, with around three quarters of Labour MPs having attended comprehensive schools. The proportion of all MPs educated at comprehensives has also increased markedly, making this Parliament the most representative of the UK’s schooling ever recorded. This matters because people are naturally shaped by their background and life experiences, so it’s important for society that our politicians better reflect the reality of the wider population.

“However, there’s still a long way to go before the Commons is truly representative of the 88% of the population who went to comprehensive schools. If Parliament is to truly reflect the nation, it’s vital that more is done to enable talented people from all backgrounds to get the opportunity to become MPs.”

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Notes to Editors:

These results were published prior to the declarations of recounts for two seats: South Basildon and East Thurrock, and Inverness, Skye, Ross-Shire.

Table 1.

School 2024 2019
Independent 23% 29%
Comprehensive 63% 54%
Selective 13% 16%

Table 2.

University 2024 2019
Oxbridge 20% 21%
Other Russell Group 35% 33%
All university 90% 88%


We sought to find data on all 650 MPs elected to the House of Commons on Thursday 4th July. Of the 648 declared seats as of 1pm on 5th July, we were able to find data on the school background of 541 MPs (83%), including 332 Labour, 112 Conservatives, 57 Liberal Democrats, as well as 40 MPs from other parties and prominent independents. For university, this amounted to 611 MPs (94%), including 381 Labour, 119 Conservatives, 68 Liberal Democrats, as well as 43 MPs from other parties and prominent independents.

Information on MPs’ educational backgrounds were found primarily from public sources, such as candidates’ campaign pages, LinkedIn profiles, Who’s Who and local newspaper reports. Where information was not publicly available, we contacted candidates and their offices directly, asking them to provide data anonymously to be used in our figures. Many candidates were happy to provide us with this information, but some did not reply or declined to provide the information.  ​

School background was defined as the secondary school attended for the majority of time between the age of 11-16. Schools were categorised on the basis of the status at the time the MP attended. Where schools changed status while the MP was in attendance it was categorised by the status when the MP first entered. University attendance relates to undergraduate study.

Sutton Trust Policy Priorities:

The Sutton Trust’s recent manifesto, Fair opportunity for all, contains fully-costed recommendations for improving social mobility. These include measures to tackle some of the most urgent educational inequality issues: equalising access to early education and childcare, closing the attainment gap in schools between disadvantaged pupils and their peers and increasing financial support for students, with maintenance grants reintroduced for those from low-income families.

Note – This press release was written before full results from the General Election were available. This research was updated with full results on July 17th 2024, which can be found here.

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