Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Dame Vera Baird QC has welcomed a report concluding that political parties must be held to account for the lack of female MPs at Westminster.
As well as reducing the ‘democratic deficit’ in future, the report, by the Women and Equalities Committee, calls for parties to publicly set out their measures for tackling the problem.
The UK Government is now facing calls to legislate, to ensure at least 45 per cent of all representatives in parliament and local government are women by 2020.
At present, only 30 per cent of MPs are women, and the UK ranks only 48th globally. This new report places increasing pressure on parties who are ultimately responsible for choosing the candidates they put forward for general elections.
Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan is one of 69 female MPs for the Conservatives, out of a total of 329. She is the constituency’s second female MP after Mabel Philipson, who served from 1923 to 1928.
Dame Vera, who recognised in the Queens New Year Honours for services to women and equality, believes the current representation is not acceptable. She said: “Women make up more than half of the population, but less than a third of MPs.
“This under-representation continues to happen at all levels of British politics and, as this report rightly indicates, it’s not good enough and stronger measures are essential if we are going to deliver real change.”