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