Students from Edge Hill’s Politics Lab were able to sit down for a meeting with Member of Parliament for St Helens North, Conor McGinn. We were able to speak to Mr McGinn about tabling Parliamentary questions, about his personal political views and about his life in politics. This is what he told us.

On what inspired him to enter politics:

Mr McGinn discussed his early childhood growing up in Northern Ireland during the troubles and cited the monumental achievement of the Good Friday agreement as one of the early defining moments in his realisation that diplomacy and political discourse can help solve complex societal issues. Mr McGinn moved to London to seek out work in the field of public service and social justice, soon finding himself work within the prison service. It was that job that opened his eyes to crime and the systemic nature of some offences being committed. He began to feel that some offenders had been failed by the governmental approach to justice and rehabilitation. Mr McGinn told us that even though he had been impressed with the diplomacy around the Good Friday agreement, he had never set out on his journey to fight for social justice with the intention of becoming an MP. This was something that happened later, when the opportunity arose.

Does he believe becoming an MP is a realistically achievable goal for the majority of society?

Mr McGinn stated that no, he did not believe this was the case and that he would like to see more done to amend this so that the British political system could include more representative voices. He would like the Parliamentary makeup in Westminster to better reflect the demographics of the UK. He also explained to us that while he held this view, in his opinion the key factor in the election of somebody to the role of an MP should be around their ability to conduct the role, and not necessarily for how representative of a wider society they are. He backed this point up by explaining that the primary role of an MP is how well they can represent their constituents as a whole, not as specific demographics, and secondly, how well they can draft and put forward legislation to the Commons. This legislative skill is how an MP can really enact meaningful societal change.

On how he balances his personal views with the views of the party and his constituents:

Some circumstances can cause dilemmas for an MP. Our interviewee cited Brexit as being one of these great recent issues in which he faced such a dilemma. He then began to reiterate an earlier point about the primary role of MP’s and how they must first and foremost serve the interests of those that they represent, even if that means voting against what they personally believe themselves. Whilst agreeing that the role of an MP is sometimes a balancing act between the views of your constituents and your own personal views, Mr McGinn emphasised that the views of constituents must come first.  

On what advice he would give to someone wanting to become an MP:

After jokingly saying “Don’t!”, Mr McGinn explained that he believed that if anyone was considering entering politics, they should know within themselves who they are and what they stand for, before embarking on such a journey. Mr McGinn stated that for him, his commitment to social justice was what eventually drove him to becoming an MP and he believes that commitment is at the heart of everything he does as an elected representative. He also explained that the nature of the role itself consists of a lot of workplace stress, long working hours and described it as “personally taxing”, but he stressed that even with all this said, it is still an honour to be in that position. He maintains that anyone considering a position in politics should enter it for the correct reasons, know what they stand for and keep these fundamental beliefs at the forefront of all decision making.


Conor McGinn has served as MP for St Helens North continually since 2015. In his political career he has occupied positions such as opposition whip, member of the Defence Select Committee, Shadow Minister for Security and Deputy National Campaign Coordinator. In Parliament he worked alongside others on the campaign for Helen’s Law and introduced a successful Private Members Bill to support this effort. He also campaigned for and introduced a successful amendment to extend the law of same sex marriage for LGBT people to Northern Ireland. In May 2023, Conor McGinn announced that he would stand down as an MP at the next general election, citing personal and familial commitments as the reason.

The Edge Hill Politics Lab would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr McGinn for his time within this project, to thank him for his public service and wish him all the best for his future after politics.

Written by Zac Clark, first year history and politics student.