Diversity in Parliament – where are we now?
The Cameron-Coalition era. Brexit. The snap election. More visits to the polls mean more visible politicians, on our screens and through our letterboxes. And that means more questions over exactly how representative our representatives are. Whatever your party persuasion, here are our 6 reasons to be cheerful when it comes to diversity in UK politics after Election 2017 and the events of last night:
1. The number of elected female MPs is at a record high of 200.
That’s 4 more than in 2015. Of all Parliamentary candidates this year, around 30% were women.
2. The UK now has 2 new MPs who are disabled.
This is after a fall in the number of disabled MPs in the 2015 election.
Marsha de Cordova, who is registered blind, won for Labour in the battleground seat of Battersea. In Sheffield Hallam, Jared O’Mara, who has Cerebral Palsy Hemiparesis, unseated the former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg.
Both new MPs are also prominent activists for disability rights, including calls for better diversity monitoring and improved declaration rates across Parliament.
3. Preet Kaur Gill became the first female Sikh to be elected to Parliament.
Her seat, Birmingham Edgbaston, has had a female MP since 1953.
In Slough, meanwhile, Tan Dhesi became the UK’s first turban-wearing Sikh MP, increasing Labour’s majority in the process.
4. In Scotland, 4 of the party leaders are out as LGBT.
Last year, the Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale joined the high-profile Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Green Party leader Patrick Harvie, and the UKIP Scotland leader David Coburn in publicly declaring her sexual orientation.
5. Layla Moran became the first person of Palestinian origin to be elected as an MP, for any party.
She won the Oxford West and Abingdon seat for the Liberal Democrats.
6. The estimated youth turnout for Election 2017 was 72%.
That’s a staggering 29% increase on the 2015 figures for 18 to 24 year-olds.
Overall voter turnout was the highest the UK has seen since 1997, up by 2% to 69%.