The next parliament will likely continue to be dominated by white male MPs, but is unlikely to be swayed by any one religion, according to a survey of parliamentary candidates for marginal seats conducted by political communications specialist the Whitehouse Consultancy.
The survey, which was responded to by 225 parliamentary candidates, has found that two thirds (65.9 percent) are male, with 82 percent claiming to be ‘White British’ in origin. Less than four in ten (37 percent) confirmed they believed in a deity, with a third (33.78 percent) claiming to be atheist. More than four in ten candidates (42 percent) claimed to have no religious denomination – with Church of England being the most common (16 percent), followed by Catholicism (12 percent).
The findings follow a recent Win/Gallup poll that found that only 30 percent of Britons claimed to be religious. Other religions were found to be poorly represented in the Whitehouse Consultancy survey, with only two percent of candidates claiming to be Jewish, with two percent claiming to be Muslim and two percent claiming to be Buddhist.
The Whitehouse Consultancy has warned the findings suggest a lack of diversity and that more needs to be done to encourage people of different backgrounds to participate in party politics.
Chris Whitehouse, Chairman of the Whitehouse Consultancy, said:
“This survey suggests that the diversity in our society is yet to be reflected in parliamentary politics. I don’t think this is only a question of how candidates are selected. It is also one of how we can encourage more people with a range of beliefs and backgrounds to get involved and be active in politics.
“Given recent findings on Britain’s religious beliefs, it’s unsurprising that a majority of parliamentary candidates are either non-religious or atheist.”
The Green Party (49 percent), followed by Labour (48 percent) was found to have the highest percentages of atheist candidates. The Conservatives have the highest percentage of Church of England candidates (41 percent). Labour also had the highest percentage of ‘white-British’ candidates (91 percent).