Parliament 'too middle class' says Miliband as he targets ex-military MPs

Dan Jarvis, MP for Barnsley, in his days as an army officer The MP for Barnsley Central served in the Parachute Regiment for 15 years

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Ed Miliband has said he wants to recruit more prospective MPs who have served in the armed forces to help make Parliament "more diverse".

The Labour leader said he wanted more people like Dan Jarvis, the ex-army officer who entered Parliament in 2011.

Mr Miliband also said he hoped to appeal to business people to represent Labour at the next election.

"I think Parliament is too middle class and doesn't have that diversity it needs," he told the House magazine.

With the general election scheduled for 2015, the political parties are busy choosing their candidates across the country.

'All backgrounds'

Mr Miliband - who started his career as Labour Party adviser - said he wanted candidates from all backgrounds, not just professions such as law, accountancy and journalism.

"What you are going to see from us this year, as we select our candidates now the boundaries are settled, as we target those 100 or so seats for the general election, is a party reaching out to all parts of the country.

"But also a party that's going to get people from all backgrounds - business people - I want more people who are military and ex-military, like Dan Jarvis, in the party.

Start Quote

I just want to do the debates. I want the debate to happen wherever and whenever they can happen”

End Quote Ed Miliband Labour leader

"People from all class backgrounds because frankly I think Parliament is too middle class and doesn't have that diversity that it needs to have."

He also suggested David Cameron was sending out "mixed messages" about the prospect of the leaders of the main Westminster parties taking part in TV debates again as in 2010.

Mr Miliband said the debates were a "good innovation" he welcomed.

"I just want to do the debates. I want the debates to happen wherever and whenever they can happen.... I think I feel warmer about them than the prime minister clearly does... I don't think he should be ducking them."

Speaking last year, Mr Cameron said that, while he enjoyed the debates, he felt they "took all the life" out of the 2010 campaign.

He suggested the three main parties "could learn from last time" and stage the 2015 debates "in a slightly different way".


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  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    5 Aidan

    You are out of touch with pay. The £64K earned by an MP is pitifully low when you consider the amount of work, separation, travel and general responsibility involved.

    Any decent professional post requiring intelligent and expereinced people will be paying at least twice this amount. This is why we fail to attract the brightest and best into parliament and public service

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    He is right that the people who run the country are increasingly out of touch with the reality of the life of the majority of citizens. Politicians should be drawn from people with experience in all walks of and medical included!

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    Parliament is unrepresentative and full of people who have never done a real job, sadly Ed you fit the bill. Oxbridge PPE graduate who hasn't worked beyond the Westminster bubble.The Tories are worse they come from a smaller section of society
    A politicians CV should show success outside politics: Business, Drs, Nurses, Scientists, Engineers, Union leaders, Teachers, Academics, Creative Arts etc

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    Why not just have a military coup and be done? Then we can start to weed out corruption at all levels the old fashioned way?

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    I dont care what class they are from, MPs should not be able to claim expenses and have their pay rises and pensions linked to the civil service. No pay rises for the civil service, no pay rises for MPs. They should not be able to clain expenses and then may realise how expensive everything in this country is. And a max salary of 2*times the National Average.

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    'Mr Miliband - who started his career as Labour Party adviser - said he wanted candidates from all backgrounds'

    Candidates from all backgrounds eh? Can't wait to see Cameron's face when he sits opposite an ASBO chav in a shellsuit complete with curfew tag. Still, they couldn't be worse than the current show of preverbial and it'd be an easy transistion from benefit cheat to expenses cheat!

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    Parliament "too middle class", says Ed Miliband, graduate of Corpus Christi College Oxford and the London School of Economics!

    What does he mean? What is "middle class"? He wants to include more businessmen. They aren't "middle class"? Doesn't everyone who becomes MP become "middle class"? Many of them seem to stop being working class, or at least stop working!

    I wish he'd concentrate on policy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    Oddly I don't think this is neccessarily a bad idea. I expect military officers are used to making tough decisions & not just doing things for themselves (imagining they're protecting their men in combat).

    But I think we'd benefit from a greater diversity, perhaps more scientists for example. I'll be interested to see what happens.

  • rate this

    Comment number 49.

    Ed Miliband has said he wants to recruit more prospective MPs who have served in the armed forces to help make Parliament "more diverse".

    It's not diversity that is main problem of westminster, it's the inability of mps to follow conscious or a non party line.

    As a Scot, I look to Holyrood not wesminster, westminster is an unnecessary overhead in another country.


  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    At least ex-military MPs have seen something outside politics unlike the career politicians (like Millipede) who have just done PPE at university, become a researcher, done bit in a university teaching and then been elected as an MP. A more sheltered middle class existence I can't imagine. Margaret Thatcher was an industrial chemist so had actually had a real job as well.

  • rate this

    Comment number 47.

    The parliament appears to be full of upper class relics who are out of touch with reality.
    Not middle class

  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    If you want to know about Margaret Hodge's tax position look her up on Guido Fawkes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    33. Big John the Red
    I would worry more about a complete lack of Scientists, Teachers, Doctors, etc... who are MP's.


    Probably because they're busy being Scientists, Teachers and Doctors...

    Anyone who enters political game will eventually be tarred with the same brush... better off they stay as scientists teachers and doctors where they can do some good in the world...

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    If parliament is to be representative, it needs to represent the nation not just the silver spoonfed etonians. For too long we have been ruled by the elite class, PM's with royal connections et cetera, ministers who wouldn't know how to survive a walk down saville row let alone the rough estates in places like Manchester or Glasgow. I applaud anyone who sincerely wishes to do this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    Politics has gone bad. How can they represent us if "politician" is a career? Under these circumstances either you're part of the electorate or you're part of the political establishment. We should select our representatives with the Jury system. If it's good enough to deny us our freedom...

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    Pretty rich coming from Millibland- he's the epitome of middle class.
    Heard him on the radio the other day, he speaks like he has a silver spoon in his mouth.
    I don't think Millibland knows what it is to be working class. For sure they'll not be stupid enough to vote for someone like him.

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    There is much criticism that there are too many "toffs" in the Lords and Commons, now there are too many "middle class".

    So where does he want to recruit from? The so called working class and the underclass scivers and scroungers on benefits I suppose.

    It doesn't matter what class anyone is, it is whether they are suited to be an MP.

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    Way back people became MP's becuase they were passionate and determined to make a difference. These days MP's have been groomed to be an MP, they have NO life experiance at all.....its a joke I dont trust any of them !

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    The Labour Party's selection process has been responsible for this.

    Instead of recruiting from across the party, in recent years Labour has developed a political class of graduate advisers and interns, of which Mr Milliband is a prime example.

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    Too middle class, and he wants to recruit " more people like Dan Jarvis, the ex-army officer " which bit of officer is working class.. The middle classes, that in its self is a joke... a whole swath of society that as Gilbert and Sullivan put it, "would none of them be missed".

    Maybe if he kicked the Tories out of the Labour party, he might make some headway.


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