The newly-elected House of Commons includes some MPs who have been in Parliament for years, and others who have been elected for the first time. How does the level of parliamentary experience in this Parliament compare to previous Parliaments?
How experienced is the average MP compared to past Parliaments?
The following chart shows the mean and the median number of years served in the Commons by MPs elected at each general election since 1983, not counting dissolution period.
The mean is what people generally think of when they talk about averages — it’s the total number of years that MPs in each group have worked in the Commons divided by the number of MPs in the group. The median is the ‘typical’ value which divides the group in half — in each group of MPs, half have fewer years of Parliamentary service than the median and half have more.
What about the range of experience in each Parliament?
The mean and the median don’t tell us much about differences in experience within each cohort of MPs. The following charts show the distribution of Parliamentary experience (measured in years) among MPs elected at each election since 1987.
The 2017 Parliament has a higher proportion of MPs with 0-4 years of experience than the 2015 Parliament. This is because MPs first elected in 2015 as well as new MPs fall in this bracket. In all these Parliaments, the majority of MPs had 0-10 years of experience.
Who’s more experienced in the 2017 Parliament?
Within the 2017 Parliament, men generally have more Parliamentary experience than women, and Labour MPs have more experience than Conservative MPs.
At previous General Elections, male MPs also tended to have more Parliamentary experience than their female colleagues. This suggests that male MPs stay in Parliament for longer than female MPs.
Picture credit: Black Rod knocks on the door to the Commons by UK Parliament – Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)