subscribe: Posts | Comments

Getting more women into parliament


Committee seeks commitments from parties, increase the number of womn MPs.Committee seeks commitments from parties to increase the number of women MPs.

There are currently more men in the House of Commons than the total number of women ever elected.

The proportion of women MPs has increased in recent years, but this progress is potentially at risk from the impact of the 2018 Boundary Reviews.

In an evidence session held on 12 October, the Women and Equalities Committee aims to gain a commitment from the main political parties that representation of women will be a key priority for the 2020 General Election, and that they will aim to increase numbers of women MPs in both absolute and relative terms.

Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party, Tim Farron, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Patrick McLoughlin, Chair of the Conservative Party, and Angus Robertson, Leader of the SNP Westminster Group, will be closely questioned on their respective party’s track record so far and future intentions.

Questions such as: how successful have they been so far? What works? What are their strategies for increasing the number and proportion of female MPs in 2020?

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Women in Parliament’s Improving Parliament report published in July 2014, made a wide range of recommendations on how to tackle challenges in the supply, selection and retention of female parliamentarians, one of which was the creation of the Women and Equalities Committee.

That APPG’s report had in turn built on a number of recommendations made in the Speaker’s Conference on Parliamentary Representation report, published in January 2010.

The Boundary Commission then announced a review of parliamentary constituencies in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in February 2016.

An initial set of proposed boundary changes was published in September 2016 and there are concerns that this will mean fewer women MPs in Parliament.

A final recommendation must be made to Parliament by September 2018.

The Administration Committee published findings of an interview study with Members on women’s experiences in Parliament  in August 2015 and findings of an interview study with Members on leaving Parliament in April 2016.

And Professor Sarah Childs, of Bristol University, published The Good Parliament report  in July 2016 which made a list of recommendations as to how to make being an MP more straightforward for women and for MPs with families.

The Committee’s Chair Maria Miller, MP, said: “Thirty per cent of MPs are women. We have seen progress in recent years, but nearly a century after the first female MP took her seat in the Commons we have only ever elected 452 women.

“If the number of seats in the House of Commons is reduced by boundary changes, this must not be at the expense of a representative and modern Parliament.

“We will be looking to gain some clear and robust commitments from each of today’s witnesses to ensure that the number and proportion of women MPs continues to increase, and an explanation of how they will achieve this.”

To follow or catch up with the Committee’s proceedings, click here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *