The role of an MP
There is no job description for an MP as each one does things differently.
MPs represent the interests of the constituency that elects them, acting as a figurehead for that area and raising their concerns in Parliament. There are currently 650 constituencies in the UK, averaging around 75,000 electors, with an MP to represent each one.
An MP is expected to represent their political party not only in their constituency but in the House of Commons as well, voting on matters accordingly. Once elected, on a Party manifesto, an MP will participate in parliamentary debates and vote on legislation. They can be elected to Select Committees which shadow Government Departments. These examine the work of government departments or look at the implementation of new laws.
They can also be on standing committees and active in APPGs (All Party Political Groups). MPs can also become a minister in government or if in opposition, a spokesperson.
To be eligible to become an MP you must:
• Be eighteen years or older at the time of your election
• Be a British citizen, or a citizen of a Commonwealth country or the Republic of Ireland
• Be nominated by three Parliamentary electors from the constituency you wish to represent
• Have authorisation from the political party you are seeking to represent. If you are not representing a party you will be standing as an independent.
• Pay the £500 deposit designed to encourage only serious candidates to stand for office. Your party may cover this if you are representing them, and is returned if you receive over 5% of the vote
• Not be a subject of bankruptcy
• Have no criminal record, or history of fraud in election campaigns
• Not be employed by the crown, for instance a civil servant
Women2Win works with those women on the approved Conservative Party candidates list, providing development, mentoring, training and fundraising support for candidates.
Contact the candidates team on firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7984 8127 and express your interest. You’ll be put in touch with the field team for local campaigns and have an opportunity to meet with a representative personally to discuss your interest in starting the candidate process.
Complete your application form detailing your experience, career history and interest in becoming a candidate. You’ll also need three referees, one of which should have known you for five years.
Following submission of your form, if you have had previous political or campaigning experience, you may be invited to a Parliamentary Assessment Board (PAB). The PAB takes five hours and you’ll be assessed by an MP and senior Party volunteers. The PAB looks to identify whether you have the relevant competencies to be an MP. There is a £250 for applicants, the total of which covers the running costs of the assessment day.
Candidates who pass the PAB will be placed on the approved list. There are different levels, either a full pass or a team pass. Once on the list, you can apply to constituencies that are selecting a candidate. These will be notified to you as they come up. At this stage you will be given training and support, particularly from Women2Win.
You will be expected to actively support the Party and campaign in your local area and help at local elections (especially by-elections), networking events and supporting national Party work as an approved candidate.
Local associations have the final say on selecting their candidates- they will interview applicants and decide which candidate they want to represent them. You will usually be required to do a short presentation and answer questions from members. There may be two or three rounds of selection. There are sometimes other competency based tests (canvassing/running a street stall etc).
The Conservative Women’s Organisation (or CWO) provides courses and training for candidates prior to applying for the PAB. These include:
• Presentation skills
• Communication skills
• Interviews and hustings
• TV and radio
• Personal branding
• PAB process