Trevor Phillips salutes Parliament’s commitment to make politics more representative
13 November 2008. In response to Harriet Harman speech, Trevor Phillips, Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said:
"Harriet Harman’s suggestion for the creation of a Speaker’s Conference could pave the way for real change and wider representation in British politics. It would be inspiring to think that the actions taken by this group of Parliamentarians could pave the way for real change in British politics. A true breaking of the mould.
Sizeable barriers remain for candidates from different backgrounds. It’s still too difficult to gain admittance to the dusty old gentleman’s club called Parliament. But I recognise that all parties are sincere in their commitment to fairness."
The Commission will work with the Conference to propose solutions to tackle the institutional barriers that get in the way of opportunity.
It’s auspicious that the first Speaker’s conference – held from 1916 to 1917 – paved the way for the enfranchisement of women in the UK. I hope this Conference achieves the same scale of change for a new generation of potential leaders."
Yesterday, Harriet Harman, Leader of the House of Commons and Minister for Women and Equality, pointed out that for the first time Parliament has acknowledged it is not representative of society, and that it needs to change.
She opened a debate in the House of Commons on a motion to establish a Speaker’s Conference, which will consider and make recommendations on how to improve representation of women, disabled, and minority ethnic people in the House of Commons.
UK Parliament not representative of society