Call for political parties to publish diversity of candidates
Political parties are being urged to publish their lists of MP candidates to show the diversity of the selection process.
An interim report published by the Speaker’s Conference says that the House of Commons “continues to be largely white, male, middle-aged and middle-class” and that people not in these groups are less likely to be selected or put themselves forward.
The committee said it will table a new clause to the Equality Bill, currently going through parliament.
If enacted this would require political parties to report every six months on the diversity of their candidate selections and to publish those reports online. These results could be compared nationally and worldwide with other parties.
The report does not state exactly what information would be collected, although the committee was set up to look at the representation of women, ethnic minorities, disabled people and LGBT people in parliament.
Information on sexual orientation or identity would be collected only if candidates are willing to volunteer it.
Vice-chair of the conference Anne Begg MP said: “Unless the performance of the different parties can be compared with each other, or with the performance of parties throughout the world, there is likely to be insufficient pressure for the political parties to pursue the cultural change which is needed from them before we can have a House of Commons fit for the 21st century.”
The report praised Labour, the Conservatives, the Lib Dems and Plaid Cymru for sending initial data in October.
The committee has asked parties to submit further statistics by January 11th and March 15th next year.