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 594.

    In my view, an MP should possess as a minimum the following three qualities:

    Aversion to greed
    Common sense.

    Sadly, most current incumbents fail on all three counts.... and I see little prospect of change in the future.

  • rate this

    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

    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

    Comment number 367.

    One change I think should be made is that the party affiliations of candidates should not be on the ballot paper. That way, people might actually have to read or listen to what candidates have to say before the election, rather than just turning up on the day with no idea who's running and voting for the candidate entirely based on their party.

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    Parliaments too middle class, lets bring in some oiks from the army.

    Insulting? Patronising? Or just the modern day Labour Party?


Comments 5 of 8


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