Virendra Sharma, the newly re-elected Labour Member of Parliament for London’s Ealing Southall constituency, has been ranked in the top ten on a list of best UK MPs.
Social media platform Change.org says the ranking – calculated prior to the recent election, in which Mr Sharma retained his seat – reveals the top MPs who ‘listened to, and engaged with, their constituents over the last two years’.
India-born Mr Sharma reached number eight of 20 in the UK’s first People-Power Index, while Wayne David, who held his seat as Labour MP for Caerphilly, secured the number one spot.
The list was compiled from ten data sources from the previous Parliament (2017-2019), which measure the following, in priority order:
- An MP’s availability to their constituents. This looks at how an MP is available online (email and social media), offline (holding ‘surgeries’ in their local area and a caseworker), and whether an MP is distracted by a second (or third) job.
- An MP’s participation in Parliament. This looks at an MP’s participation record for voting in Parliament, so that their constituency is counted when new laws are passed, and how often an MP raises issues from their constituency in Parliament.
- How an MP listens to the public. An MP’s top priority is their constituency, but they also have a responsibility to the wider general public to bring political attention to mass public campaigns and priority issues by discussing them in Parliament.
Taking the whole Index of 650 MPs, female MPs slightly outperformed their male counterparts. Despite holding only 32 per cent of seats in Parliamentat the time the list was recorded, women accounted for 36 per cent of the top 50 MPs. Men were ranked lowest, comprising 82 per cent of the bottom 50.
Commenting on the launch of the People-Power Index, Kajal Odedra, UK Executive Director of Change.org, said: ‘Unlike most jobs, there’s no job description for being an MP. So for the MPs putting themselves forward again, and when we’re looking at candidates to see who’s best for the job, how are we judging what a “good” MP looks like?
‘That’s why Change.org created the UK’s first People-Power Index. From years of working with ordinary people to campaign on issues that matter to the public, a big motivation for starting petitions is that they don’t feel heard by those in power. We’ve judged that being a “good” MP is about openness and responsiveness to constituents. Trust in politics is strengthened when it is open, transparent and the public are genuinely listened to.’
Just before the December 12 poll, Ms Odedra said that the list would enable voters to‘check how their MP ranks when making their mind up whether to re-elect their last MP or not’. The aim of the People-Power Index was, she added,‘to inspire new MPs to prioritise their relationship with their constituents’.