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Exploring Parliament

Exploring Parliament (1st edn)

Cristina Leston-Bandeira and Louise Thompson
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date: 27 January 2023

p. 22121. The Rise of the Professional Politician?locked

p. 22121. The Rise of the Professional Politician?locked

  • Peter Allen
  •  and Philip Cowley


This chapter examines the debate over the presence of ‘professional’ politicians in the UK Parliament. It first explains the distinction between professional politicians, career politicians, and political class before discussing why the presence of professional politicians in Parliament is often seen as a problem. In particular, it considers two main arguments levelled against the professional politician. The first is a functionalist argument: that the optimal way to manage national affairs is to draw on a wide range of occupational experience from different spheres of society and the economy. The second type of criticism draws on a broader argument in favour of political equality and representation. The chapter concludes with an overview of contemporary developments relating to the composition of Parliament and argues that there are in fact fewer professional politicians than is commonly thought.

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