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Lib Dem President calls for sexuality to figure in Commons diversity review

November 12, 2008 11:02 PM
Simon Hughes MP at conference podium

Lib Dem President Simon Hughes MP

President of the Liberal Democrats Simon Hughes MP today called for a review of diversity in the House of Commons to include lesbian, gay and bisexual representation. Speaking in a debate establishing a "Speaker's Conference" to address under-representation of women, ethnic minorities and disabled people in the House of Commons, he said: "This debate should not be only about women, or people from black and ethnic minorities, or disabled people. It should also be about gay people and young and older people, and about having a diverse Parliament. Unless we see that in the broad spectrum, we are not fulfilling Parliament's expectations of us."

Of the UK's 646 MPs there are about a dozen out LGB Parliamentarians - with only one out male bisexual MP, one out lesbian MP, and no openly bi women. The unelected House of Lords has even lower LGB representation, and there are no out transgender members of either house.

The debate passed the following motion:

(1) There shall be a committee to be known as the Speaker's Conference which shall consist of the Speaker, who shall be chairman, and up to 17 other Members appointed by the Speaker one of whom shall be vice-chairman;

(2) The Conference shall consider and make recommendations for rectifying the disparity between the representation of women, ethnic minorities and disabled people in the House of Commons and their representation in the UK population at large; and may agree to consider other associated matters;

(3) Notwithstanding any Standing Order of this House, the Conference shall conduct its proceedings in such manner, and have such of those powers which the House may delegate to select committees, as the Speaker shall determine;

(4) The Conference shall have power to report from time to time;

(5) The quorum of the Conference shall be five;

(6) This order shall have effect until the end of the current Parliament.

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