Business of the House
Amber Rudd (Hastings and Rye, Conservative)
I agree. It is absolutely essential that the item remains at the top of the agenda for all political parties, but my point is that my political party will not, I believe, be introducing all-women shortlists. Most of my colleagues agree with that, because it is not the only way to achieve this much-needed increase in the diversity of representation.
After the 2010 election, we had 147 new Conservative MPs, of whom 36—or 25% of the new intake—were women. Now, 25% representation is a big step up from the 9% that we had before 2010, so that approach has been a tremendous success, and we have achieved it without the undemocratic approach of all-women shortlists.
The problem that we are trying to address is not just to do with Parliament, however, because there is a problem with women’s representation not just at Westminster but, as we have discussed in previous debates, in public companies, at the top in boardrooms and in different elements of life. I picked up a copy of The Guardian recently, and it stated that
Women and ladies, we need to do something about that.