New research shows national parliaments in the UK and the Netherlands host highest number of MPs of immigrant origin

Posted by ap507 at Feb 15, 2016 11:01 AM |
‘Pathways to Power’ project findings by University of Leicester and other European universities to be revealed on Monday 15 February

Issued by the University of Leicester Press Office on 15 February

Additional findings from the ‘Pathways to Power’ project are available under embargo on request. Contact the University of Leicester Press Office on 0116 252 5761 or email
Media representatives can register for a media briefing breakfast at the Institute for Government to start at 9am Monday here:
Key research findings about the political representation of citizens of immigrant origin (IO) in European national parliaments will be announced at an event in central London on Monday 15 February.
The findings, announced at an event organised by Professor Laura Morales from the University of Leicester’s Department of Politics and International Relations in collaboration with the Political Studies Association, are from the ‘Pathways to Power’ project, which studies the political representation of IO MPs in the United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain.
Among the key findings of the research are:
•       The Netherlands and the United Kingdom lead in the presence of citizens of immigrant origin in national parliaments across the eight European countries studied
•       South European countries fare worst in the inclusion of citizens of immigrant origin in the national legislature
•       There are considerable cross-national variations in the gender, age and educational attainment profiles of IO MPs across Europe. There is no single universal pattern to their socio-demographic profiles
•       In the years studied, IO MPs are more likely to be women in Belgium and Spain but the gender pattern is balanced or variable in the other countries
•       IO MPs are noticeably younger in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, but not so in the other countries
•       Over 70% of all MPs in all countries have a university degree, and IO MPs are somewhat more likely to have a university degree, except in Belgium and Germany
•       IO MPs tend to be elected as candidates of left-wing or centre-left parties more often than of centre-right or right-wing parties, but this is not the case in South European countries
•       IO MPs tend to have gained less political experience in their parties’ structure or in subnational elected office before they win their seat in national parliament
•       For the years studied so far, IO MPs tend to be underrepresented in key positions of party and committee leadership, although this may be a temporary effect resulting from their generally lower levels of parliamentary experience in some countries
Professor Morales said: “The study is the first of its kind to compare in a systematic way the political representation of citizens of immigrant origin across European countries. Our findings show that migrants and their native-born offspring are under-represented in national parliaments in all countries, but they are much more likely to gain elected national office in the Netherlands and the UK.
“The study also shows that centre-left wing parties are, in most countries, still the most permeable to citizens of immigrant origin and are the ones contributing more to including this sector of our populations to the national political arena.”
The project ‘Pathways to Power: The Political Representation of Citizens of Immigrant Origin in Eight European Democracies’ is an international collaborative and comparative project led by four universities: the University of Leicester (United Kingdom), the University of Amsterdam (Netherlands), the University of Bamberg (Germany), and SciencesPo (France).
Over the past decades, ethnic diversity within European societies has increased radically and immigration is one of the most important challenges facing Europe today.
The study covers the period from 1990 to the most recent complete national legislatures and will also include data on the most recent legislative terms of regional assemblies in the eight countries.
The University of Leicester and the Political Studies Association are hosting an event for media and members of the public to discuss the findings. The workshop is designed to provide information to a more general audience and academics and will offer a more detailed overview of the preliminary results and an opportunity for discussion with the research team and several guest MPs of the Belgian, British and German Parliaments.

The project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, and the Agence Nationale de la Recherche.


Notes to editors:
For more information about the project and event please contact Professor Laura Morales on 
About the Economic and Social Research Council:
The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK’s largest funder of research on the social and economic questions facing us today. It supports the development and training of the UK’s future social scientists and also funds major studies that provide the infrastructure for research. ESRC-funded research informs policymakers and practitioners and helps make businesses, voluntary bodies and other organisations more effective. The ESRC also works collaboratively with six other UK research councils and Innovate UK to fund cross-disciplinary research and innovation addressing major societal challenges. The ESRC is an independent organisation, established by Royal Charter in 1965, and funded mainly by the Government.

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