UK parliament more diverse than ever

But Stonewall and the Fawcett Society say progress is still too slow.


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Twitter @stonewalluk

 

UK politics is no longer the preserve of the straight, white, privately educated male. True, there are still a lot of them about, but the 2017 general election saw more female MPs and more out lesbian, gay and bisexual MPS elected than ever before. There was also a significant boost in the number of elected MPs from ethnic minorities, disabled MPs and MPs educated in state schools, according to the BBC.

 

45 lesbian, gay and bi MPs were elected, which is six more than there were in the previous parliament. The SNP is the party with the highest proportional LGB representation with 7 of its 35 MPs identifying this way.

 

The other out MPs are made up of 19 Conservative and 19 Labour MPs. There are no out LGB MPs from any of the other major political parties.

 

Sophie Cook, a candidate for Labour, missed out on becoming Britain’s openly transgender MP when she stood for the Tory seat of Worthing East & Shoreham.

 

Bex Stinson, head of trans inclusion at LGBT charity Stonewall said in an online article:

 

“Parliament should reflect the society it represents, so it’s good to see an increase in the number of openly lesbian, bi and gay candidates elected. 

 

“Unfortunately there are still no openly trans MPs and the number of openly bi MPs is also small. Representation of LGBT people in positions of power is extremely important. It demonstrates how much progress Britain has made, sending a powerful message internationally.”

 

In terms of gender equality, there is now a record number of female MPs in parliament – 200 to be exact.

 

However, we are far from equality. As reported in The Independent, Sam Smethers, chief executive of women’s rights organisation The Fawcett Society, said in a statement:

 

“We are moving forward at a snail’s pace and this is embarrassingly slow. If the UK only improves by this much at each election, we will not see equal representation in parliament until 2062.”

 

Many people are also concerned about the Conservative party joining forces with the Democratic Unionist Party, which opposes LGBT rights and abortion.

 

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