Tories set to have more female MPs than Labour for first time ever
The Tories are set to have more women MPs than Labour for the first time ever after the general election, experts have predicted.
Academics at the Parliamentary Candidates UK and Election Forecast also say the total number of female MPs is likely to fall.
According to their analysis, there will be 194 victorious female candidates on 8 June. But when Parliament was dissolved earlier this month, there were 196.
They forecast that the Conservatives will have 98 female MPs, compared to Labour’s 73.
But the projection still has the Tories lagging behind on gender balance, with 24% of their MPs women in this scenario compared to 46% for Labour.
Overall, the proportion of woman candidates standing has risen from 26% in 2015 to 29% this time round.
Labour led the way on candidate equality; 41% of their PPCs were women compared to 34% of Greens, 33% of SNP, 29% of the Tories and Lib Dems, and 15% of Ukip candidates.
All parties apart from the Greens and SNP are fielding a higher percentage of female candidates this time than in 2015.
Dr Jennifer Hudson, one of the researchers behind the projection, said the early election, the “Theresa May factor”, and a shift in attitudes towards female candidates at a local level were behind the increase.
“The centralised selection process, as a result of the snap election, really gave the party leadership the opportunity to push an equality agenda if they chose to,” the UCL academic said at a Political Studies Association briefing this morning.
“And what we’ve seen as a result is that... there has been a dramatic increase in the percentage of women selected to contest the election.
“This isn’t just about that kind of effort; lots of women candidates are citing the ‘Theresa May factor’, that they’ve been inspired, that there’s a bit more confidence about their ability to stand as a candidate.”
The methodology was to run 1,000 simulated elections, of which three-quarters produced fewer MPs than the current tally and 194 was the most likely outcome.