23 Mar 2015

What’s wrong with our MPs?

With the general election just 45 days away, parties are desperate to energise their supporters to get the vote out on 7 May. But disillusionment with the political process has never been higher.

In a three-part series, Channel 4 News is asking what is wrong with Britain’s political class. In the first report, Billie JD Porter investigates our MPs.

Voters do not trust politicians, and the politicians seem somehow unable to reach out to those they represent – particularly the younger generation.

Political writer Sophie Wilkinson points out that while young people nowadays are worst affected by the housing crisis, they see predominantly white, male politicians, many with more than one property, who cannot reflect their experiences.

‘You get all types’

Labour’s Alan Johnson, who stacked shelves and worked as a postman before becoming an MP, rejects the assertion that all MPs are remote. “You get all types,” he says.

Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg (Eton and Oxford) believes it is more important what people in parliament think than what their educational background is.

In a similar vein Emily Benn, who will be a Labour candidate on 7 May, asks people to judge her “on my own efforts, my own ideas”.

But the fact remains that the profile of the new intake after the general election is unlikely to show an enormous difference from what preceded it.

The next two films will look at the role of the lobby and of special advisers in British politics