MPs tasked with reforming Westminster makeup

The Speaker’s Committee will look at how representative Parliament is of the population

Jo Swinson is among 17 MPs who will form a new task force examining how well Westminster represents the population of the UK.

House of Commons Speaker Michael Martin will chair the Speaker’s Conference, tasked with looking at issues around representation on the basis of gender, race and disability.

Commenting on the task facing the new conference, Jo said:

“I am very much looking forward to being part of the Speaker’s conference, which is meeting for the first time in over 30 years. It represents a once in a generation opportunity to look at how Parliament can improve the way it represents the population of the UK.

“Speaker’s conferences in the past have been instrumental in improving representation by Parliament. In the early 20th Century, a Speaker’s Conference proposed a Women’s Suffrage Bill, which was an important step on the road to achieving universal suffrage.

“There are plenty of ways Parliament could be making itself more representative and responsive to the public. It will be up to the conference to identify and recommend the practical steps that should be implemented.

“It is shameful that in the 21st Century we still have a Parliament overwhelmingly made up of white, middle aged men. As a woman, as well as the only MP currently under 30, I hope to bring a useful perspective to the conference.”

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