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
    +2

    Comment number 397.

    Party whips need to be abolished. They're anti-democratic.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 396.

    This myth about local MPs for local people... lets not kid ourselves... they all take the Party Whip anyway...

    PR now... and the leaders should have to rank their own MPs in order, publish that order up front, and send them wherever he chooses depending on seats won

    Let's ditch this stupid local MPs, in favour of a party-vote system, and ditch first past the post... it'll keep them more honest!

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 395.

    I don't care what class my MP is - what bothers me is that most MPs are just anodyne lobby-fodder and may as well be crash test dummies.

    Give me an MP with opinions they are prepared to say out loud - I'd rather have Dennis Skinner (who I profoundly disagree with) than the likes of Harriet Harman who has perfected the art of speaking at length without actually saying anything.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 394.

    367.Tomath
    'One change I think should be made is that the party affiliations of candidates should not be on the ballot paper.....rather than voting for the candidate entirely based on their party'.

    Madness! People should vote for the party politics rather than the individual otherwise it is just a popularity contest. And I don't vote for the party, I vote for the policies and manifesto!

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 393.

    I seriously disagree with the user who described having an affair as being 'human'

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 392.

    The military? What the hell's he on about? The military is incredibly class-ridden. When was the last time you heard a high-ranking officer with a Yorkshire accent?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 391.

    Let's start with making parliment accountable to the voting public first and worry about diversity later. It's the evasive squirming, the tit-for-tat back and forth childishness and the absolute contempt they show for any of our wishes that drives us insane.

    When politcians won't answer a straight question with a straight answer I fail to see the point in this exercise.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 390.

    385.spam spam spam spam

    "Please ed, define your version of middle class, if you're capable"

    It can't be the same as the 'squeezed middle' which he couldn't define either. I think that was any who might possibly vote for him.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 389.

    if career politicians are willing to take unpaid internships then they should be unpaid as mps surely

    milliband is becoming the tories secret weapon .

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 388.

    So, Milliband is saying that we need fewer MPs like him?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 387.

    Austerity Britain apparently doesn't extend to the PALACE of Westminster. Do we ever see the real, behind the scenes life of them in the bars and restaurants all subsidized at tax payers expense? Do we hear about cost-cutting in the expenses and conditions of work? What other work place have bars (plural) available to its 'workforce'?

    We only see stage-managed bite-sized aspects of their 'work'.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 386.

    Miliband is as middle-class as they come, same as most of his party. It's incredible that some people still think they represent the working man after 13 years of being proven completely and utterly wrong under their last period of governance.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 385.

    Please ed, define your version of middle class, if you're capable

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 384.

    351 Ive said it before and I'll say it again. HYS should form its own political party. Our policies can be voted on by the rating system, the top 5 comments go into further debate untill we get a solution then it gets imposed.

    Great-then we'll get the policies that the BBC wants!

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 383.

    Is that what Labour had in mind when they "immigrated" the White Working Class out of London.

  • rate this
    +19

    Comment number 382.

    MPs should go on a 'working-class experience' & see for themselves what it's like with a basic wage, long hours, bills, three children & no extra pair of hands (ie nannies, cleaners) That is real life.
    However, my local MP is a marvel- he's an ordinary man, shops in the local supermarket, goes to the local pub on a Saturday & always joins in with the community - we should have more MPs like this.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 381.

    Sorry Ed, we can't have more MPs from the armed forces because they're all still far too busy fighting all the wars Labour started!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 380.

    Ed M, a member of the North London intelligentsia, says MPs are "too middle class"? Pot, kettle, black...

  • rate this
    +30

    Comment number 379.

    It doesn't matter what walk of life an MP comes from. What is needed is a method to stop them becoming captured by a system where their own perks and privileges become more important than the people they represent. How about limiting them to two five year terms, then off they go and new ones come in. It would take explosives to shift my MP from his very safe seat. Does that serve democracy?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 378.

    I appear to have missed something, here.
    Miliband thinks parliament is too Middle Class, so he wants to change it by having more ex Commissioned Officers there.
    I assume he's now lost all touch with actual reality.

 

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