Want to become an MP? Here's a tongue-in-cheek, 4-step guide on how become an elected Member of Parliament.

Step 1: Choose Your Party

Do you have to be a Member of Political Party to stand as an MP? No. You can stand as an Independent. However, if you stand as truly individual, libertarian force, then your chances of actually becoming an MP are pretty much zero. You can stand without Party backing, but youcan't havemuch hopeof becoming an elected MP without Party backing.

So your 1st step to becoming an MP is to decide which Party you are going to join.

By the way, if your ambition is to have MPafter your name, it is best to choose a Party that already has a number of MPs: The Conservative Party, The Labour Party, or the SNP (if you are Scottish).

Step 2: Become a Candidate

OK, so now you have decided on your Party. What next? The 1st step is to sign-up, and pay your membership fees.

Next you need to get the Party to accept you as one of their candidates. This can be very difficult, as most parties have a very gruelling process for selecting their prospective candidates. Each Party has a slightly different system for selecting who to put on their list of potential candidates. However, the process is quite similar. First, you will need to submit an application and CV and provide referees.

Secondly, (if the application is accepted) you will undergoing an intensive day of assessment. Thispart of the process is to get on the list of Centrally Approved List of Candidates. The intensive day's assessment includes a variety of aspects and tests, including a one-to-one interview that is typical of a job interview.However, negotiating your way through the Parliamentary Assessment Panel/Board, is only1 stepto becomingan MP.

Step 3: Get Selected

Excellent, you've got on to the Centrally Approved List of Candidates for the Party. However, now you have to get selected for a Seat. Parties often have an "A List", and then the others. This is important. If you are not on the "A List", you may only be able to apply to become the Parliamentary candidate for certain seats i.e.

the undesirable ones. However, if you are an "A List-er", this is great you can apply to stand for any seat for your Party. This means you may be lucky enough to become a candidate for a safe seat, and thus your chances of getting MP after your name significantly improves.

Getting selected for any given seat, though, is another hard and gruelling process. This time you have to get the local, constituency Party to select you againstother candidates from the Party to stand as the Party's Parliamentary candidate for the seat. However, once the local, branch/constituency Party has endorsed you as their candidate, you have access to the Party's resources, and they will help to fight to make you their MP.

Step 4: Get Elected

Ah, the final stage. This is where you have to go out there and convince the unwashed masses to vote for you. It is, however, advisable that you do not insult your potential voters. Back, when Burke was standing to become an MP, in the 1780s/1790s, it was perfectly ok for him to refer tothe electorate as the "swinish multitude". This strategy, however, is less likely to be successful in the 2010s.