Tory attempts to diversify only partially successful

By politics.co.uk staff

David Camerons’ attempt to diversify the Conservative party met with mixed results on Thursday, according to new research.

Although the Tories now have their first two Muslim MPS, and have increased their representation of ethnic minorities by nine MPs, up from two, it still appears that the party is taking its members of parliament from a narrow social base.

Research by the Sunday Times shows that just 23% of the 143 new Conservative MPs are women, only seven per cent did not go to university and that Old Etonians make up six per cent of the entire parliamentary party.

In 2006 David Cameron promised to “change the face of the Conservative party by changing the faces of the Conservative party”. He insisted that his A-list of candidates was 505 women and contained a significant proportion from ethnic minorities and disabled people.

But only 38% of the A-list, were elected; and high profile candidates such as Joanne Cash in North Westminster and Shaun Bailey in Hammersmith lost their individual battles.

More than 20% of the new intake have been party workers, MEPs or local government leaders, and the success of five new Old Etonian candidates, including Zac Goldsmith, Rory Stewart and Boris Johnson’s brother Jo, brings the parliamentary party’s number to 19.

Although the new Commons contains its largest ever number of woman and ethnic minority MPs, the number of those who went top public schools has increased.