1/10 of our privately-educated MPs know the rules of the Eton wall game. Photo: Getty
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More women, more ethnic minorities, but one-third of MPs have still been privately-educated

Parliamentary privilege.

The next parliament will be more representative than the last one. There are now 188 female MPs, up nearly a third on the last parliament. There will also be more black and ethnic minority MPs, with 41 entering parliament, up from 27 in 2010

But it's not all good news. Research from the Sutton Trust shows the educational background of the Commons has hardly changed. Almost a third (32 per cent) of MPs in the new House of Commons have been privately educated, meaning that the new House is only a little more representative than that elected in 2010, when 35 per cent of MPs had been to a fee-paying school. I needn't remind you that this compares with the 7 per cent of the population that is educated privately. 

And 26 per cent of MPs have Oxbridge degrees (a whopping drop from 28 per cent in 2010).

But the most chilling news of all: of those who were privately educated, one in ten went to Eton.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.

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How Theresa May laid a trap for herself on the immigration target

When Home Secretary, she insisted on keeping foreign students in the figures – causing a headache for herself today.

When Home Secretary, Theresa May insisted that foreign students should continue to be counted in the overall immigration figures. Some cabinet colleagues, including then Business Secretary Vince Cable and Chancellor George Osborne wanted to reverse this. It was economically illiterate. Current ministers, like the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Chancellor Philip Hammond and Home Secretary Amber Rudd, also want foreign students exempted from the total.

David Cameron’s government aimed to cut immigration figures – including overseas students in that aim meant trying to limit one of the UK’s crucial financial resources. They are worth £25bn to the UK economy, and their fees make up 14 per cent of total university income. And the impact is not just financial – welcoming foreign students is diplomatically and culturally key to Britain’s reputation and its relationship with the rest of the world too. Even more important now Brexit is on its way.

But they stayed in the figures – a situation that, along with counterproductive visa restrictions also introduced by May’s old department, put a lot of foreign students off studying here. For example, there has been a 44 per cent decrease in the number of Indian students coming to Britain to study in the last five years.

Now May’s stubbornness on the migration figures appears to have caught up with her. The Times has revealed that the Prime Minister is ready to “soften her longstanding opposition to taking foreign students out of immigration totals”. It reports that she will offer to change the way the numbers are calculated.

Why the u-turn? No 10 says the concession is to ensure the Higher and Research Bill, key university legislation, can pass due to a Lords amendment urging the government not to count students as “long-term migrants” for “public policy purposes”.

But it will also be a factor in May’s manifesto pledge (and continuation of Cameron’s promise) to cut immigration to the “tens of thousands”. Until today, ministers had been unclear about whether this would be in the manifesto.

Now her u-turn on student figures is being seized upon by opposition parties as “massaging” the migration figures to meet her target. An accusation for which May only has herself, and her steadfast politicising of immigration, to blame.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.

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