Parliamentary Representation

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 4:30 pm on 12th January 2012.

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Photo of Amber Rudd Amber Rudd Conservative, Hastings and Rye 4:30 pm, 12th January 2012

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

“78% of the UK’s newspaper articles are written by men, 72% of Question Time contributors are men, and 84% of reporters and guests on Radio 4’s Today show are men.”

Women and ladies, we need to do something about that.