Britain’s new Prime Minister Keir Starmer will oversee a parliament that is more ethnically diverse and more female than ever before after securing a landslide victory in Thursday’s election that ended 14 years of Conservative rule.

Black, Asian and minority ethnic lawmakers will make up about 13% of the new House of Commons, up from 10% in 2019 when Britain last held its parliamentary election. It will be the largest share of ethnic minority members in the lower house, according to an analysis by British Future, a think tank.

In the 44 years since Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was born, minority representation in the British parliament has risen from zero to nearly one in seven lawmakers, British Future said. But the share still does not fully reflect the diversity of the population and electorate. About 18% of people in England and Wales come from a black, Asian, mixed or minority ethnic background, according to official figures.

“The 2024 election is a landmark for representation, with record diversity in our parliament, closer than ever to that of the electorate,” said Sunder Katwala, director of British Future. “The irony that this coincides with the end of Rishi Sunak’s tenure as the UK’s first Asian Prime Minister only underscores how ethnic diversity has become a new norm across the major political parties.”

The new parliament will include a record 242 female lawmakers, 22 more than after the last election in 2019. When Labour’s Diane Abbott, Britain’s first black MP, entered parliament in 1987, there were just 41 women in the House of Commons. Abbott, who was re-elected to the north-east London seat she held for 37 years, will become “mother of the house” – an honorary title given to the longest-serving MP.

Although the final results have not yet been announced, the Labour Party triumphed in Thursday’s parliamentary election, winning some 412 seats, giving it a majority of 174. Britain’s new governing party will have by far the largest number of lawmakers from ethnic minorities — 66 of the 87 elected. But that diversity is unlikely to be reflected in his main cabinet when Starmer picks his top team.

Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy, justice minister Shabana Mahmood and energy minister Ed Miliband are among the minority ethnic ministers expected to be appointed to Starmer’s senior team. Thangam Debonnaire, who was due to join the senior team, has lost her seat.

The ousted Conservative Party has a stronger record on diversity when it comes to representation at ministerial level. Speaking to the nation outside 10 Downing Street on Friday in his final speech as prime minister, Sunak said: “One of the most remarkable things about Britain is how unremarkable it is that two generations after my grandparents arrived here with very little, I was able to become prime minister.” Sunak was the country’s first British-Indian leader and all three female prime ministers have been Conservatives.

However, Labour’s Rachel Reeves will be Britain’s first female Chancellor of the Exchequer, or finance minister.

Via Reuters


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *