How to become an MP

It is virtually impossible (though there have been rare examples) to be elected to the UK parliament unless a person is adopted by a political party as their ‘official’ candidate. Therefore, in order to enter the House of Commons they must first be selected as a candidate by a party. Selection is carried out by local party constituency committees who draw up a shortlist of proposed candidates and interview them, much as if they were applying for any job.

All proposed candidates will be party members, and many will have ‘cut their teeth’ in politics as a local government councillor. However, sometimes prominent national figures may be chosen because of their high prof le. Labour leader Keir Starmer MP is an example — he is a former Director of Public Prosecutions.

Boris Johnson MP was also an obvious choice as he was still London Mayor at the time of his selection. It helps if the person lives in the constituency they are applying for, but this is not essential. The central party leadership will often try to influence local committees in their choice, but this does not always work. Having been selected as the party candidate, they must then wait for the election and hope that they win.