Simon Woolley is the director and one of the founders of Operation Black Vote and a commissioner for race on the Equality and Human Rights Commission and he argues that the lack of diversity and subsequent lack of representation for women and ethnic minorities is very damaging for our democracy:
“Among our MPs, elected by the people for the people, there are only 191 women – 29% – nearly 150 women short of equal representation. In 2015 only 41 black and minority ethnic MPs – 6% – were elected, when there should be nearer 100 for a more equitable representation.
I hardly need to argue why representative democracy is vitally important. We know it’s morally right, but often forget that the greatest argument for a government to look like the people it seeks to serve – and that includes class and disability too – is that it gives us a better chance of effective and dynamic government. If you’re making big decisions about people’s lives, it’s better to have a variety of people, backgrounds and experience around the table.
No one’s suggesting a man cannot speak on gender equality issues – they could and they should. But most of the time? I don’t think so. Equally, not every black or minority ethnic MP wants to speak about race equality: they may be more inclined to talk about the environment or health. But there are others who do, and the issues affecting, for example, young black workers have to be dealt with”.
Some 66.1% of eligible voters registered their vote, up from 65.1% in 2010, continuing a steady increase from 59.4% in 2001 and 61.4% in 2005, but still some way short of the 71.4% turnout at the 1997 election.
In Scotland, the turnout was 71.1%. – up from 63.8% in 2010.
Two constituencies witnessed turnouts above 80%. Renfrewshire East had 81.1%, narrowly pipped to the top spot by Dunbartonshire East, with 81.9%.
The lowest turnout was in Manchester Central, with only 49.2%, although that was a 5% increase from 2010. Stoke on Trent Central was only slightly higher with 49.9%.
The UK’s first-past-the-post system means that the number of votes rarely translates into an equivalent proportion of seats. And that was especially true in this election. The SNP won 56 seats from 1.45 million votes, a share of 4.8%. But by mid-morning on Friday UKIP had won only one seat for their 3.87 million votes, a 12.7% share of the total. The Greens’ 1.15 million votes translated into one seat too, while the Lib Dems won eight seats despite winning nearly 2.4 million votes, a 7.8% share.
The 2015 has seen a greater sense of representation for women and ethnic minorities
By late morning on Friday. 153 female MPs had been elected, already more than the 148 women in the last Parliament, which was the previous record. In Scotland, more than a third of MPs from Scotland will be women.
Liz Saville-Roberts was elected as Plaid Cymru’s first female MP, comfortably winning her race by 5,000 votes in Dwyfor Meirionydd, north Wales.
This Parliament will feature a record number of non-White MPs, according to British Future. From 27 in the last election, there will now be 41, with the Tories’ 17 moving closer to Labour’s 23.