Member of Parliament (MP)

politician Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) Member of the European Parliament (MEP)

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would campaign to persuade people in a community to vote for you to be their representative. Once elected, you’d speak for them in debates about new laws and national and international issues.

You’d try to persuade other politicians to make laws to improve people’s lives. You’d try to help individual constituents with problems and issues.

There are different parliaments you could stand for:

  • The Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh
  • The House of Commons - part of the United Kingdom parliament – at Westminster in London
  • The European Parliament in Brussels (Belgium), Strasbourg (France) and Luxembourg.

You’d speak in parliament and in public to put forward your constituency's interests and your own political beliefs. If you are elected as a member of a political party, you’d explain and defend its policies.

You would:

  • Attend sessions in parliament
  • Debate issues and raise questions in parliament
  • Vote on new laws and policies
  • Sit on committees and attend meetings and conferences
  • Hold surgeries and advice sessions in your constituency
  • Take up constituents’ issues and concerns
  • Study reports and research on relevant issues
  • Make speeches
  • Give interviews to the media
  • Campaign for your political party

With experience, you could hold a position of extra responsibility, such as being a government minister, Scottish cabinet secretary or party spokesperson.

Working conditions

Hours

Your working hours, Monday to Friday, could be very long when in parliament. Core hours in the House of Commons are until 10pm on some evenings, and parliamentary debates sometimes continue into the night.

Environment

Parliament regularly breaks for recess and has a long summer break, so you would usually spend more time in your constituency at these times. You would have office bases at parliament and also in your constituency.

Travel

Many MPs choose to live in London during the week when parliament is sitting, and travel to their constituency one day a week or at weekends. You may also spend a lot of time travelling around the UK and possibly overseas.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Persuading people
  • Taking the lead
  • Presenting to people
  • Finding solutions to problems
  • Making decisions

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

Keep track of your skills in your account and find the jobs, opportunities and courses that suit you.

Click here to view / add your skills

Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

There are no set qualifications to enter this role. However, you'd need excellent communication skills and an understanding of the issues that matter to your constituents. 

Many people stand to become an MP after careers in law, business, journalism, or trade union work. Others rise through the ranks of their chosen political party as local councillors, researchers or caseworkers.  

Entry is very competitive and you'd need to be nominated by your party to stand in an election. You could also stand as an independent candidate. You'd then need to be elected by the area you represent.

You will also need

  • To be at least 18 years old
  • To be eligible to vote in elections for the parliament you are standing for

Helpful to have

Before being selected to stand for election you would normally need long experience of working for a political party, either paid or unpaid. 

You may have been a local councillor or political researcher.