Labour’s Lewis talks about all-white ‘balanced’ parliamentary committee

Clive Lewis

This week the House of Commons announced a new committee formed specifically to scrutinise Brexit-related legislation – and proudly announced its balance:

uk brexit si.png

The tweet lauded the gender balance of the committee – but the composite image it published of the members was conspicuous for something else.

Labour MP Clive Lewis spotted it:

clewis diversity

Fifty-two MPs from minority ethnic backgrounds were elected in the 2017 general election – around one in twelve.  The new committee has sixteen MPs, so while it may be gender-balanced, it cannot be considered representative.

Lewis told the SKWAWKBOX:

I’m delighted the new ESI committee has gender equality. Such an approach to parliamentary committees is long overdue. So it came as a shock that out of the sixteen MPs not one was a black member of Parliament.

Political parties have made great strides in ensuring MPs look and sound like the diverse country Parliament seeks to represent. Now it’s time to ensure that representation isn’t just skin deep but actually follows through in practical ways. That means heading off glaring omissions like this one. It also means having more black people in senior administrative roles at Parliament. Until that happens those making the decisions on recruitment and the composition of parliamentary bodies will fill them in their own image.


Surely whoever put that list together couldn’t have been that oblivious to the obvious?  Or aren’t people from ethnic minorities interested in, or qualified to have a say about, Brexit-related issues?

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  1. Quota systems! If you do not appoint the best person for the job you are fascistic. That is equality. Every individual of equal value in law & judged by who you are & not what. Would you consider gender or race quotas for medical posts such as brain surgery? Quota systems equate to second best & an imposed criteria by elites. BUT if you want quota systems, we need more working class MPs, not solicitors & fewer public school kids in judiciary & other ‘Top’ jobs. Quota systems suit elites

    1. Steve, you simply do not understand democracy: at the centre of it is the concepts of representation & equality. MPs are there to represent their constituents. A Commons committee is not a boardroom. And they should be very wary of going down the line of looking for “expertise”, because one person’s idea of an expert is another’s idea of a fool. In theory, all MPs are equally fit to judge issues. All in theory are capable of weighing up evidence and coming to a decision. It is a very good theory; a democratic one.

      Also, the idea that those selected for this comm. are the best people for the job is a right laugh, frankly. But let’s put that aside for one moment. Our parliamentary system and culture, in an atrocious state, badly needs a dose of democratic principle.

  2. Do we REALLY want the likes of umunna & cleverly on that committee?

    Because may’d never let the likes of abbott or butler anywhere near it.

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