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MP Member of Parliament, elected representative, constituency representative

MPs represent people's concerns and interests in the House of Commons.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £74,000 to £142,500 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll need to be:

  • 18 or over
  • a British citizen, a citizen of a Commonwealth country or the Republic of Ireland

You’ll usually become established within a political party first.

Useful pre-entry experience can also come from being an MP's researcher or caseworker.

You'll need to be nominated by 10 parliamentary electors from the constituency you want to stand in. Everyone standing for election pays a £500 deposit.

If you’re not a member of a political party, you can put yourself up for election as an 'independent', You'd then need to be voted into the position of MP following a general election or local by-election. 

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • strong political beliefs and ideas
  • excellent communication and public speaking skills
  • the ability to persuade and motivate others
  • problem-solving skills
  • the confidence to make decisions

3. What you'll do

You'd attend sessions in Parliament and:

  • vote on new laws and policies
  • raise constituents’ concerns with relevant ministers
  • debate issues and raise questions

Outside Parliament, you'll

  • talk to businesses and schools about local, national and international issues
  • speak to the media
  • attend meetings and conferences
  • hold surgeries and advice sessions in your constituency

4. Salary

Starter: £74,000

Experienced: £134,565 (Cabinet Minister)

Highly Experienced: £142,500 (Prime Minister)

You may receive more if you have extra responsibilities like chairing committees or being a cabinet minister.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll have an office at Parliament and in your constituency. You might need to travel around the UK. You'll usually work Monday to Friday. You may have to attend Parliament until 10:30 pm on some evenings, and parliamentary debates can continue through the night.

Many MPs live in London during the week and travel to their constituency on one of those days or at weekends. You can expect to spend more time in your constituency during Parliament's summer or other annual breaks.

6. Career path and progression

General elections are held every 5 years, so it can take a long time to be elected MP.

With experience, you may get the opportunity to take on extra responsibilities like chairing committees and moving into more senior positions like party whip or even party leader.

If your political party is in power, you could go from junior minister to minister and then cabinet minister. If your party is in opposition, you could be a spokesperson on certain issues or have responsibilities in a shadow cabinet.

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Last updated: 13 April 2017