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TUC LGBT Conference: A 5% quota in Parliament is progress, not job done

BRITAIN may have the highest number of LGBT MPs in the world but much is still to be done to reach true representation, trade unionists said yesterday.

Delegates at this year’s Trades Union Congress (TUC) LGBT conference called for action on the quotas of gay, lesbian, bi or transexual people in Parliament — currently at just over 5 per cent.

The House of Commons recently welcomed the coming out of two more MPs — SNP business spokeswoman Hannah Bardell and Labour shadow Welsh secretary Nia Griffith — but activists believe Westminster is still lacking in diversity.

Community union delegate Linda Ballard told conference that “we’ve come a long way but the fight is by no means over.

“Of the 32 LGBT MPs elected last year, all are white, only six are women, and not one, not a single one, is transgender.

“So while we lead globally in terms of numbers, it’s a low bar. While we are proud, let’s not stop just because we are the best of what is, let’s be honest, a very bad bunch.”

Ms Ballard, who is the mother of a transgender child, added that political representation had positive effects “far beyond Parliament.”

She added: “Attitudes, not legal objections, are the final frontier for LGBT rights.

“It matters hugely that Parliament reflects the population — and to LGBT people that see people like us in positions of power, speaking up for and demanding our rights.”

Her words were echoed by shop workers’ union Usdaw member Stuart Bunyan who said: “Parliament should be a mirror of the society in which we live, at the moment it is not.”

Conference voted unanimously to campaign to support LGBT people running for seats in Parliament and other public offices.


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