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'Record-breaking strides' in the number of women, LGBT and ethnic minority MPs elected – but critics say there is still more work to do

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Monday, June 12, 2017 – 10:24am

Last week’s general election has delivered the most diverse House of Commons ever, with “record-breaking strides” made in the number of women, LGBT, ethnic minority and state school-educated MPs elected, says the BBC.

LGBT MPs 

There are now 45 MPs who openly define themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), according to senior government equality advisor John Peart, a 40 per cent increase from the 2015 parliament. They include Scottish Secretary David Mundell, Education Secretary Justine Greening and shadow defence secretary Nia Griffith, with a total of 19 in Labour, 19 in the Tories and seven in the SNP.

“Visibility matters and it makes it easier for young people in particular to know that they can go just as far whether they are gay or straight,” said Griffith.

Stonewall says the rise “demonstrates how much progress Britain has made”.

Ethnic minority MPs

Thirty years after the first ever black politicians were voted into the House of Commons, 52 ethnic minority MPs have been elected, says think-tank British Future.

Operation Black Vote said many more ethnic minority candidates won in non-urban areas, which showed the UK was “comfortable with its multicultural society.”

However, Steve Ballinger, British Future’s director of communication, said there was a significant discrepancy between the number of ethnic minority MPs in Labour (32) compared to the Conservatives (19), partly due to the Tories not choosing enough ethnic minority candidates.

Women

The number of female MPs has passed the 200 mark for the first time, with 208 elected. This means women now make up a little under a third of the House of Commons.

However, as with ethnic minority MPs, there is a big gap between the main parties. Labour’s 119 women is less than half the party’s total number of MPs, while the Conservatives have 67 female MPs, 21 per cent of their total.

Education

The 2017 election has also a seen a significant “shift” in educational background, says the BBC. More than half of those elected (51 per cent) went state schools.

Analysis by the Sutton Trust found 45 per cent of all Conservative MPs elected in 2017 were privately educated, compared to 14 per cent of Labour MPs and six per cent of SNP MPs.

Trust chairman Sir Peter Lampl said the “landscape of British politics has changed considerably”, but added the proportion of MPs attending private schools was still far higher than in the general population, where seven per cent are privately educated.

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