Business of the House
Amber Rudd (Hastings and Rye, Conservative)
I am delighted to have the opportunity to speak in this important debate. I feel very strongly, as I know do many fellow Members, that it is important to raise diversity issues constantly in the House in order to get a better outcome for everyone. I saw a very good film this week about a young woman who was very clear and focused on what she wanted to achieve, despite the obstacles in front of her. She became a Member of Parliament and then Prime Minister. As we reflect on the issues we can address in order to raise diversity in the House, I feel certain that many people who see that film, whatever their politics, will be as shocked as I was at the sight of one woman among so many men. The film shows very clearly the difficulties she faced but nevertheless
I now have to put my glasses on—my diversity is something to do with age as well as gender.
We have come a long way since Lady Thatcher, but there is still a lot to do, which is why we are having this debate. Each party is addressing diversity in its own way, but it is absolutely clear to me, having listened to the debate this afternoon, that everyone is committed to it. It is important to say that it is not right to think that there can be one solution for all parties. Each party has different political philosophies and it is inevitable that we will have different ways of approaching the diversity issue. The Labour party has dealt with it through all-women shortlists and quotas and has had its success as a result—of course it has; they are all-women shortlists—but I do not believe that that is a desirable way of introducing more women into Parliament.