The 50:50 Parliament 6-Step Guide to becoming an MP
Represent your community and fight for the change you want to see. Become a Member of Parliament! Believe in yourself, get support and go for it! 50:50 is here to help.
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Step 1 - Select a Party
The UK political system is a multi-party system and it is mostly necessary to join an established political party in order to become a candidate for election.
If you are unsure which political party reflects your values, take a look at the Parties' manifesto for the 2017 General Election:
Step 2 - Join a Party
Once you have chosen a political party you will be expected to join as a member, before applying to be a candidate. Although there is typically a small annual or monthly fee, joining a political party should give you access to campaigning opportunities, party conference and the opportunity to shape the party’s policies and elect its administration.
More information, specific to women, is available via the Party Resource page, but below are links to the joining page for each major Party:
Step 3 - Train and Get Support
Each political party should offer the chance to apply for candidate training, as well as online resources to guide potential candidates. There are also some fantastic cross-party initiatives, which can help you gain the skills, experience and confidence to become a candidate.
On the 50:50 Party Resources page you will find contact details for party representatives, party-specific support organisations, and cross-party initiatives.
Step 4 - Campaign
If you don’t quite feel ready to stand yet, or there isn’t an opportunity in the near future, or you have tried and were not selected as a candidate then you can gain valuable experience and raise your profile by supporting other candidates seeking election.
You can register to campaign via your local party office or via the party’s national register. Please see the Party Resources page and contact your party representative for more information on campaigning opportunities. You should also register for the 50:50 mailing list and we will keep you posted on cross-party campaign opportunities for women candidates across the country.
Step 5 - Become a Candidate
So, now you are ready to stand. First thing you should do is check that you can meet the minimum legal criteria:
- You must be over 18 years of age, a British citizen or a citizen of a Commonwealth country or the Republic of Ireland.
- You must be nominated by a minimum of 10 parliamentary electors of the constituency that you wish to stand in.
- You must place a £500 deposit (which may be covered by your local party) when you submit the nomination papers, which is returned if you receive over 5% of the total votes cast.
- Certain people are disqualified from standing as an MP.
- More information is available via the Electoral Commission website.
You will need to be approved by your chosen party and to find out what process your chosen party takes to approve people for their candidates list, please get in touch with your local branch or the party’s central office, via the resources included on our Party Resources page.
You will likely need references to prove your professional and personal capabilities and to highlight specific skills and qualifications that you have. However, the great thing about applying to become an MP is that there is no expected career path beforehand and all life experience is deemed relevant.
Step 6 - Become an MP
Once you are selected as a candidate, you will begin your election campaign. You will get lots of support from your local party. Each Party tends to be funded slightly differently. As a candidate, you will be expected to lend your support and time to fundraising initiatives for your party and campaign.
There is a legal amount that a candidate can spend on election expenses and more information on that calculation is available via the Electoral Commission, here. There is also more information on some of the other rules and regulations surrounding election campaigning available via the Information Commissioner’s Office, here.