Rebecca McKee


Substantive Representation of Ethnic Minorities in the UK Parliament

Sept 2013 – Sept 2016


Economic and Social Research Council +3 Studentship

PhD summary

The 2010 general election resulted in the election or re-election of 27 MPs from ethnic minority backgrounds. These MPs now make up 4.2% of all MPs in the UK parliament, whilst the 2011 Census results showed that 20% of residents in England and Wales belonged to ethnic groups other than the majority White British group. Thus, it appears that the ethnic minority population is descriptively under-represented in parliament. If there is a link between descriptive and substantive representation then these statistics raise issues about the representation of ethnic minority populations in parliament and, consequently, in policy decisions.

This project aims to establish whether there is a link between descriptive and substantive representation in the UK parliament and how well ethnic minority groups are represented by the people they have elected to represent them.

I will be looking at the impact of ethnic minority MPs in parliament as well as how well ethnic minority constituents feel they are represented.

I intend to use as my primary data source, Hansard records of parliamentary proceedings, currently underused in research but which are a verbatim account of the proceedings in both Houses of Parliament. This includes all forms of recorded parliamentary activity. In order to analyse this resource I will use quantitative analysis using corpus analysis from which I hope to create a database of the language used.

I hope to use other methods as the project progresses to help identify how representative and responsive MPs are towards their constituents as well as the wider ethnic minority population.


I completed my bachelor’s degree in Politics and International Relations at The University of Manchester in 2012. During the summers I worked as a Research Assistant then Fellow at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine researching political and social change in the Former Soviet Union. I continued at Manchester University, studying for an MSc at the Institute of Social Change and in 2013 I started my PhD with CoDE (Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity), the nature of which means that I am divided between Politics and Social Statistics at CCSR.



  • McKee R. (2013) Ethical issues in using social media for health and health care research. Health Policy. 110 (2), 298-301.
  • McKee R, Richardson E, Roberts B, Haerpfer C, McKee M. (2013) Things Can Only Get Better? Changing Views of the Past, Present and Future in the Former Soviet Union. Europe-Asia Studies, 65 (7), 1466-1478.
  • McKee R, Murphy A, Richardson E, Roberts B, Haerpfer C, McKee M. (2013) Do citizens of the former Soviet Union trust state institutions, and why? East European Politics

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