News Date: Friday 4th July 2008
Tim joins Flappers in call for more women MPs
On the 80th anniversary of men and women receiving equality at the ballot box East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton joined with activists outside parliament, in the call for more women in Parliament.
Women currently make up just 20 per cent of the House of Commons today, a figure virtually unchanged in a generation.
This comes as new research from the Electoral Reform Society has revealed that despite efforts by all parties not enough has been done to ensure that an increase in women MPs at the next General Election is even a possibility.
Eight decades on from the 'Flapper Vote' and women are still being passed over in candidate selection for winnable seats. The Society's research shows that in all likely scenarios the number of women MPs will at best remain the same - and most likely fall. This, the Society argues, is in part a consequence of our electoral system.
"I absolutely agree with the need for a more representative spread of men and women in Parliament and therefore am pleased to add my support to the Electoral Reform Society's campaign as we reach the 80th anniversary of equality at the ballot box.
"We need to see more a wider spread of quality representation in Parliament so that the very important and different perspectives of the female vote are represented at the highest possible level."
Dr Ken Ritchie, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society said:
"This year we have marked 90 years since women in Britain first won the vote. Today we celebrate a further milestone: 80 years since full equality between men and women was finally achieved at the ballot box. But equality in law has not meant equality at Westminster.
"Which ever way you spin it, the next election simply cannot prove a watershed moment for women in politics. Progress has always been hard fought, and despite the rhetoric, the parties are simply not doing enough."
"1997 was a false dawn for equality. In the last decade when we've needed concerted effort, we've seen stagnation. Where proportional voting systems have been introduced more women have been elected. But at Westminster, in place of an upward curve, we have seen a plateau in what remains a male-dominated institution."
Beatrice Barleon, the Society's Women's Officer said:
"The parties talk a lot about the need for greater equality but in every likely scenario for the next election, they can't deliver. That's not to say the parties have done nothing - just not enough.
"And the blame can't just lie with the parties: our voting system has consistently failed women - and minority groups. The evidence from around the world is unambiguous - where there is a fairer, more proportional system, countries have more women and minorityrepresentatives."