Bring in the professionals: how pre-parliamentary political experience affects political careers in the House of Commons

Allen, Peter (2014) Bring in the professionals: how pre-parliamentary political experience affects political careers in the House of Commons. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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Abstract

In this thesis I use original empirical data to examine the impact of the political experience of MPs before they enter parliament on their careers once inside the House of Commons. The contribution I make to knowledge is twofold. First, I build on existing literature in the field by developing a stand-alone classification of pre-parliamentary political experience that distinguishes between experience gained on the local level, for example as a local councillor, and experience gained on the national level, working for an MP or in the head office of a political party. Second, I empirically operationalise this classification and support it adopting quantitative research techniques. Using a cohort study of those MPs first elected at the 1997 general election, I find that those MPs with national-level pre-parliamentary political experience are more likely to reach cabinet-level frontbench positions while MPs with local-level experience are more likely to remain backbenchers or reach only the lower levels of government. I highlight the ways in which national-level pre-parliamentary political experience interacts with other political and personal factors to provide a small group of MPs with a preferential parliamentary career path relative to their colleagues. I conclude by placing my findings in the context of comparative research on political parties, reflecting that certain types of party structure privilege specific types of pre-parliamentary political experience. I also consider the findings in light of debates on political representation and professionalisation, and highlight directions for future research in this area.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
School/Department: School of Social Sciences, History & Philosophy > Politics
Depositing User: ORBIT Editor
Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2014 10:34
Last Modified: 29 May 2014 16:43
URI: http://bbktheses.da.ulcc.ac.uk/id/eprint/42

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