Politics: Tory MPs too white and male

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The Independent Online
Today's Tory MPs come from a narrower group in society than they did 20 years ago, research carried out by a grassroots Conservative group revealed.

The Tory Reform Group said the "modernisation" of selection process in 1980 led to a decline in the number of new MPs educated in state schools and failed to raise the number of women MPs. The group wants "substantial reform to the system to end discrimination".

The TRG report said the selection procedure, which includes a course modelled on the British Army's officer selection course, itself lifted from the Nazi party method of selection, had "helped to distance MPs from ordinary Conservative voters". It states: "We cannot go on saying that we understand the working classes because we employ them as our servants."

Leadership for the Nation: Selecting Conservative Party Candidates claims the Tories field too few women candidates, there are no MPs from ethnic minorities, there are too many political "hacks" and the class base of MPs is too narrow. In 1997, just 13 Tory women were returned to Parliament - two more than in 1964. The report described this position as "lamentable".