Since 2010, we have been looking at the educational backgrounds of the 650 Members of Parliament elected to the House of Commons.

Following the UK General Election on July 4th, our detailed analysis of the new crop of MPs finds a significant change in their school and university backgrounds compared to those who were elected in 2019.

It shows that a record proportion of MPs attended state comprehensive schools, with the proportions of those who were privately educated and attended university now being more representative of the UK population, when compared to the Commons in 2019. However, the educational backgrounds of MPs still remain considerably different to those of the population at large.

The new Prime Minister, Sir Keir Starmer, continues a trend since 1937 of every Prime Minister (except the last Labour PM, Gordon Brown) with a degree attending the University of Oxford, where he completed a postgraduate qualification.

Read our previous analysis from 2015, 2017 and 2019, and read our analysis of the educational backgrounds of the new Cabinet.


went to state comprehensive schools.


attended independent schools.


attended Oxford or Cambridge for university.

Key findings
  • 63% of MPs were educated in comprehensives, with 23% educated privately, and 12% in selective schools. 15% of Labour MPs and 46% of Conservative MPs attended private schools.
  • The proportion of privately educated MPs is at a record low for the three main parties over almost 50 years of data, which peaked in 1983 at 51% of MPs.
  • Of 350 newly elected MPs, 66% were educated at comprehensives, 22% at independent schools and 11% at grammars.
  • 20% of MPs attended Oxbridge at undergraduate level, while 34% went to another Russell group institution.
  • 42 MPs went to both a private school and Oxbridge.
  • 40% of MPs have a postgraduate qualification, whilst 10% did not attend university at all.
  • 19% of Labour went to Oxbridge, compared to 29% of Conservatives.
  • The educational background of the 2024 Commons is more socio-economically diverse than any parliament recorded since 1979.
  • The new Prime Minister, Sir Keir Starmer, continues a trend since 1937 of every Prime Minister (except the last Labour PM, Gordon Brown) who attended university having attended Oxford.
  • The new government’s Cabinet is the most diverse in terms of education background ever recorded, with just 8% of the Cabinet having attended private school – broadly similar to the figure for the population as a whole (7%).




Note: The Sutton Trust published initial figures the day after the General Election (5th July for MP figures, 6th of July for the Cabinet) – The figures above were updated based on full results on 17th July.  


Candidate selections

  • Parties should review whether their selection processes for parliamentary candidates are open to individuals from all socio-economic backgrounds, and look at changing processes, or potentially offering financial support to applicants and candidates.
  • All political parties 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 aimed at improving gender or ethnic diversity.
  • Political parties should monitor and anonymously report on the socio-economic background of both their candidates and those that apply to become candidates for their party.

Opening-up involvement in politics

  • The socio-economic backgrounds of staff working for MPs and political parties should be monitored and anonymously reported.
  • Interns working in entry level roles in politics, for example for MPs or political parties, should be paid at least the Minimum Wage (£7.70 for 21 to 24 year olds) and preferably the Living Wage (£10.75 in London, £9.30 in the rest of the UK) if longer than one month. All internships should also be advertised publicly, and recruitment practices should be fair, transparent and based on merit.
  • The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) should review their policies on the hiring of internships by MPs and Peers, including considering whether funding levels for Westminster offices need to be increased to ensure that interns are paid, or whether additional ring-fenced funds should be given to MPs to pay interns in their offices.
  • Roles to work for MPs or in politics more widely should be openly advertised, rather than being filled informally via existing networks. Hiring decisions should be made in a fair and transparent manner, on the basis of merit.

In the education system

  • The provision of citizenship/democracy education should be improved in state schools, to create a better understanding of politics, democracy and government.
  • Opportunities to take part in extracurricular activities which help to develop skills which are valued in politics, including debating and public speaking, and skills such as self-confidence should be expanded in state schools, and access to these activities should also be widened within universities.