School of Politics and International Relations

The UK's next prime minister will be chosen by 0.2% of the nation

6 July 2019

Voters in the UK are about to pick the country's next prime minister. But in this election, not everyone gets a say. In fact, hardly anyone does. A self-selecting group of 160,000 people -- just 0.2% of the electorate -- will choose the next leader for a country of nearly 67 million people. So, who exactly are they? Conservatives have a reputation for being out of touch and monied.

"They are predominately white, middle-class and comfortably off," says Tim Bale, professor of politics at Queen Mary University of London and co-author of the upcoming book Footsoldiers: Political Party Membership in the 21st Century. "They are also 97% white British, whereas about 15% of people in the country are from an ethnic minority background. They are also mostly men… They are pretty traditionalist. If you look at their attitudes on immigration, justice and education, they are socially very right-wing."
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Also covered in The New York Times and The Atlantic.