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New Scottish parliament, new Scottish parliamentarians?

Shephard, Mark and McGarvey, N. and Cavanagh, M. (2001) New Scottish parliament, new Scottish parliamentarians? Journal of Legislative Studies, 7 (2). pp. 79-104. ISSN 1357-2334

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Abstract

This article analyses the social characteristics and career paths of Scottish elected representatives, assessing the extent to which the Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) are different from their Scottish counterparts at Westminster as well as the society at large. Taking the analysis of comparative representation beyond the contemporary focus on gender, this article finds that in certain specific ways the Scottish counterparts at Westminster are actually more representative of the Scottish population. While MSPs are more representative of the female population, traditional 'politics facilitating' career paths are less important than they are for Westminster and Scottish MPs are more representative of ethnicity and the working class in Scotland. Findings suggest that if we want a more inclusive style of 'new politics' then the parties will have to address the issue of microcosmic representation from a wider perspective than the current focus on gender.