On Thursday 27 February, MPs took part in a debate on a motion relating to Parliamentary representation. This debate was scheduled by the Backbench Business Committee following representations from Dame Anne Begg and Margot James.
Watch the debate and read the transcript
This debate was opened by Dame Anne Begg following the first Backbench Business debate on welfare reform.
Text of the Motion for debate
"That this House welcomes the fact that there are now more women hon. Members and hon. Members from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities in the UK Parliament than at any time in history; notes that, in spite of progress, Parliament is not yet fully representative of the diversity of UK society; recognises that increased diversity of representation is a matter of justice and would enhance debate and decision-making and help to rebuild public faith in Parliament; is concerned that the progress made in 2010 may not be sustained unless concerted efforts are made to support individuals from under-represented communities to stand for election in 2015; and calls on the Government and political parties to fulfil commitments made in response to the Speaker’s Conference (on Parliamentary Representation) in 2010, including commitments in respect of candidate selection and support for candidates."
How the subject was selected
The subject for this debate was determined by the Backbench Business Committee following representation from Dame Anne Begg and Margot James on 28 January.
Backbench Business Committee
The Backbench Business Committee meets weekly on Tuesdays at 3pm to consider requests for debates from any backbench Members of Parliament on any subject, including those raised in e-petitions or national campaigns.
An MP must make a representation before the Committee for an e-petition or petition to be debated; e-petitions exceeding the Government's 100,000 signature threshold are not automatically allocated backbench time.
The Committee then has to decide how to allocate the limited Parliamentary time it has at its disposal. The Committee's meetings are always conducted in public and can be watched on Parliament TV.