UK elects record number of female MPs

Commons will have 220 female MPs but almost two-thirds of seats still represented by men

A record 220 female MPs will take their seats in parliament after this election, but the House of Commons will still fall far short of being gender balanced.

The proportion of female MPs will reach 34%, the highest portion of either chamber in parliament to date. However, there are stark differences across the party divide: just a quarter of Conservative party MPs are female, whereas the Labour party will now be represented by more women than men – with a record 104 female MPs.

Of the main parties the Liberal Democrats will have the highest proportion of female MPs at 64% – though there are only seven – while just a third of newly declared SNP parliamentarians are women.

by party

Tory-dominated south-west England has by far the highest proportion of male MPs at 80%, followed by Northern Ireland at 78%, while London – where Labour took 49 seats – almost achieved absolute parity with 49% female representation. The north-east has the second highest proportion of women MP’s, 41% of its 29 MPs.

gender balance

With 649 seats now confirmed, only St Ives – a Conservative-Lib Dem marginal where the two main contenders are male – is still to declare. Therefore the above figures are almost certain not to change.

Female Conservative candidates stood in a record number of seats for the party – almost a third of their prospective MPs. The Tories were criticised for allowing men to fight most of the plum seats, but Siobhan Baillie became Stroud’s first female MP in a Conservative gain from Labour. She is one of 87 Tory MPs who will return to parliament.

There is already speculation over who will be the next leader of the Labour party, after Jeremy Corbyn confirmed he would stand down following a “process of reflection”. Angela Rayner, Jess Phillips and Rebecca Long-Bailey are among those considered the frontrunners.

A then record 208 female MPs were elected at the 2017 general election, 32% of all MPs, a vast improvement on 1979 when 19 women MP’s were returned to parliament. In the House of Lords, there are 207 female peers – 27% of members.

women mps

The UK is now set to rise from 39th position in the global rankings for the proportion of women in the lower – or sole – house of parliament.

However, there had been fears over the number of female MPs who chose not to contest their seats at this election and many lamented the abuse they faced in office.

The next parliament will be the most diverse of any that has gone before, with 65 MPs from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.

The new house will be 10% BAME, up from 8% in the 2017 chamber with all but one MP now announced.

The Labour party has 41 candidates from a minority background - up from 32 in 2017 - meaning 20% of Labour’s parliamentary representatives are now BAME.

The Conservatives also increased the number of BAME MPs from 19 after the 2017 general election to 22 now. However, due to the increase in the number of seats that the party gained this time around, the proportion of those from an ethnic background has remained the same – at 6%.

The Liberal Democrats, which had one BAME member of parliament in 2017, has returned a second in Munira Wilson, who ran in the seat vacated by the former party leader Vince Cable and won with a 14,121 majority.

The figures were reached by comparing the list of returned MPs with a list of BAME candidates drawn up by British Future before election day.


Pamela Duncan and Mattha Busby

The GuardianTramp

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