In 2002 we introduced the Sex Discrimination (Election Candidates) Act allowing positive measures towards women’s increased participation. This legislation is having an impact and the numbers are rising particularly in the parties that made use of these measures.
The Labour Party was able to increase the percentage of women MPs in the last general election by using all-women shortlists to select candidates in its retirement seats.
By contrast the Liberal Democrat Party and the Conservative Party respectively only selected 32 per cent. and 12 per cent. of women candidates for its 50 most winnable seats.
Overall, 20 per cent. of MPs are now women compared with 9 per cent. before 1997. Nearly 27.4 per cent. of Labour MPs are now women, while 8.6 per cent. of Conservative MPs and 14.3 per cent. of Liberal Democrat MPs are women.