COMMONS

Committee seeks commitments from parties to increase numbers of women MPs

11 October 2016

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.

Witnesses

Wednesday 12 October 2016, Thatcher Room, Portcullis House

At 9.45am

Purpose of the session

In this evidence session, the 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.

Tim Farron, Sir Patrick McLoughlin, Angus Robertson and Jeremy Corbyn will all be closely questioned on their respective parties track record so far and future intentions: how successful have they been so far? What works? What are the strategies to increase the number and proportion of female MPs in 2020?

Chair's comments

Committee Chair Maria Miller 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."

Background

The APPG on Women in Parliament's Improving Parliament report (PDF 3.8 MB) was published in July 2014, which 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. The APPG's report built on a number of recommendations made in the Speaker's Conference on Parliamentary Representation report (PDF 998 KB), published in January 2010. 

The Boundary Commission 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 (add link). A final recommendation must be made to Parliament by September 2018. 

Professor Sarah Childs of Bristol University published  The Good Parliament report (PDF 1.03 MB)  in July 2016. The Administration Committee published findings of an interview study with Members on women's experience in Parliament (PDF 442 KB)  in August 2015 and findings of an interview study with Members on leaving Parliament (PDF PDF 702 KB) in April 2016.

Further information

Image: Parliamentary copyright

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