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This research briefing looks at the historical representation of minority ethnic groups in the House of Commons.

It is difficult to establish the number and proportion of MPs from minority ethnic groups, as MPs are not required to officially state their ethnicity. We therefore rely on external sources that collect this information, often based on MPs’ public assertions.

Part 2 of this paper looks at MPs from minority ethnic groups before 1987. This year is often identified as the year in which the first MPs from minority ethnic backgrounds were elected in recent times.

Part 3 of this paper highlights notable Jewish MPs. ‘Jewish’ is not currently listed as an ethnic category in the UK Census but many people regard themselves as ethnically Jewish.

This briefing does not contain a definitive list of MPs with minority ethnic ancestry or heritage. Rather it focuses on MPs from minority ethnic groups highlighting notable ‘firsts’.

We would be pleased to hear of any published research in this area that helps develop the picture we have of early representation of minoritised ethnic groups in the House of Commons.

The Library briefing Ethnic diversity in politics and public life provides aggregate statistics on MPs elected since 1987 as reported by external sources. Curated lists can be found on Operation Black Vote and Wikipedia.

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