How to become an MP
An MP (which stands for Member of Parliament) works on the behalf of the people in their constituency to represent their interests and concerns in the House of Commons. Effectively, an MP is the voice of the people and aims to ensure that all members of society have a representative in parliament.
£74,000 to £142,500
A career as a Member of Parliament
Most MPs are well established in a political party, at least at a local level and are usually well respected by party supporters within their area. MPs are usually raised or very well informed about the issues and areas that affect the people that they represent and they serve to give a voice on issues that are important.
It is possible for a person to put themselves forward as an MP without being affiliated with a political party. If you are not a member of a political party and want to be an MP, you can put yourself up for election as what is known as an ‘independent’ candidate. If you receive enough votes, you will be given the position of MP after a general election or a local by-election.
What are the entry requirements that I’ll need to meet in order to become an MP?
To become an MP, you will have to meet a number of entry requirements. You will need to:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Be a British citizen or a citizen of a country in the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland
It is also advisable to gain experience of the role from working in a supporting position such as a caseworker or as an MP’s researcher. Experience can also be gained through being a member of a political party.
In order to be an MP, you will need to be nominated for the role by 10 parliamentary electors that are from the constituency that you would like to stand in. It will be necessary to pay a £500 deposit to stand for election.
Essential Skills for Being an MP
MPs need to have the flexibility to listen to and voice the concerns of us but also need to have the confidence and strength of character to stand up for and encourage others to see their point of view. MPs are rarely liked by everyone and as such, they must be prepared to be challenged and disliked.
There are a number of essential skills that an MP should possess in order to carry out the role successfully and represent their constituency in the most effective way. These skills include:
- The ability to work well under pressure.
- The ability to listen to the concerns of others and voice these in parliament on their behalf.
- The ability to challenge opinions and encourage others to see a different way of thinking.
- Excellent organisational skills.
- The ability to communicate verbally and in writing.
- The ability to liaise with all walks of society and to converse with peers, the media and local authorities.
- The ability to keep records up to date.
- To understand local and national events and how they impact on all of the community.
- Excellent problem solving.
- A motivational character.
- The ability to present yourself professionally and positively even with adverse receptions.
Day to Day Work of an MP
An MP’s work is demanding and varied. Interactions with others will make up the bulk of your work and so it is vital that you are always prepared to listen, understand and respond. You will be expected to spend a lot of time in your community, engaging with others, understanding local matters and being sure to understand the concerns that are raised to you.
As an MP, you will work in your constituency and in Parliament. When in Parliament, the duties that you will undertake will include:
- Voting on new policies
- Voting on new laws
- Debate and challenge issues that are raised
- Asking questions to other MPs
- Raise the concerns of your constituents and press relevant ministers for responses.
When you are working outside of Parliament, you will:
- Meet with your constituents and hear their concerns and interests.
- Meet with business owners to hear their views on local, national and international matters.
- Provide updates to the media.
- Arrange surgeries to give advice to constituents
How much does an MP get paid?
The amount than an MP earns is often the cause of controversy and discussion. The starting salary for an MP is £74,000. A Cabinet Minister (an MP with more experience) earns £134,565.
The Prime Minister currently earns a salary of £142,500.
The amount of money that can be earned will also depend on whether you take any additional responsibilities such as chairing committees.
Career Progression for an MP
It can take quite some time to become an MP as general elections are usually only held once every 5 year period.
Once you are working as an MP, you may be able to progress your career and earn more money by taking on additional responsibilities such as chairing a committee or gaining promotions to more senior positions such as a party whip or the leader of a political party.
If the political party that you are with is the party in power, you have the opportunity to progress from the role of a junior minister to that of a minister. With further experience you can then progress to the position of a cabinet minister. If your political party is not in power and is therefore in opposition, you could specialise in certain issues and become the spokesperson for that issue. This would bring additional responsibilities within the shadow cabinet.
Working Hours for an MP
When you become an MP, you will have an office in your constituency and one in Parliament. You may also need to travel around the country to meet other people, explore national issues and explore potential solutions to concerns that have been raised.
Most MPs will work from Monday to Friday and have weekends off. That said, most MPs will try to engage in community events and activities, even during weekends, to help meet with constituents, bolster their popularity and build strong local relationships.
When in attendance at Parliament, days may run into the night and MPs may not leave until gone 10pm. Some parliamentary debates can run through much later than this.