Conservative MPs are four times more likely to judge a person by the shoes that they wear than Labour MPs, according to a poll by Hft.

The poll, conducted by YouGov, found that 42% of Conservative MPs said they would judge a person by the shoes that they wear, compared to just 9% of Labour MPs. Overall, around a quarter of all MPs (23%) from across Parliament admitted that they would judge a person by the shoes that they wore*.

Hft questioned politicians to mark the one-year anniversary of their Walk In Our Shoes campaign, which calls on MPs to spend more time with adults with learning disabilities to find out more about the issues that matter to them.

On 7 June 2018, members of the charity’s Voices to Be Heard group delivered a pair of custom-made shoes to 10 Downing Street for Prime Minister Theresa May, decorated with faces of people supported by Hft. Since then, the charity has hosted several MPs at their services across the country. 

The Walk In Our Shoes poll also found that:

  • MPs that support Brexit are slightly more likely to judge a person by the shoes that they wear, with 37% of MPs who voted “Leave” in the EU referendum saying they would judge a person by their shoes, compared to 35% of “Remain” supporters

  • Boots are the most popular shoe for Conservative women (59%), whereas female Labour MPs are more likely to opt for flats (42%)

  • Male Labour MPs prefer to wear Oxford shoes (25%), whereas their Conservative counterparts are more likely to wear brogues (26%)

Billy Davis, Public Affairs and Policy Manager at Hft, commented:

“Around a quarter of MPs say they will use a person’s shoes to make a judgement about them before they get to know them. People with learning disabilities often feel that decisions are made about them without consulting them. This is why Hft launched the Walk In Our Shoes campaign, to give the people we support a platform to have their voices heard.”

“Whether their favourite shoes are kitten heels or flip-flops, we call on MPs of all political parties to try a new pair on for size and walk in the shoes of people with learning disabilities to find out more about the issues that matter to them.”

Notes to editors

  • YouGov conducted the poll of a sample of 102 MPs, weighted to be representative of Parliament, between 13 May 2019 – 2nd June 2019.
  • Percentages cited are based on number of respondents who ticked “Likely” or “Very Likely” when indicated whether or not they would judge a person on the shows they wore.

For further information please phone 0117 906 1755 or email media.enquiries@hft.org.uk.

About Hft

Hft is a national charity supporting more than 2,900 adults with learning disabilities across England and Wales to live the best life possible. Established in 1962, the charity uses its own unique Fusion Model to consistently deliver high quality, person-centred support across all its services. 

Services range from supported living to residential care – from a few hours a week to 24 hours a day. Hft also helps people with learning disabilities to take part in daily activities, make friends and develop relationships and to find work.

For more information about Hft please visit www.hft.org.uk

Information about learning disabilities

A learning disability can be mild, moderate, severe or profound and is defined as having a reduced ability to:

  • Understand new or complex information
  • Learn new skills
  • Live independently

For more information about learning disabilities, please visit www.hft.org.uk/resources-and-guidance