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Improving Parliament – creating a more representative House of Commons

parliament2.jpgA major new report from the All Party Parliamentary Group for Women in Parliament published today makes a number of key recommendations to encourage more women to become Members of Parliament. Dawn Primarolo MP was a senior member of the Inquiry Committee which has produced the report, taking evidence from a wide range of people from business, politics and academia. Dawn has over 27 years’ experience as an MP and was one of only 41 women MPs when first elected in 1987.

Amongst these recommendations includes a new zero tolerance to unprofessional behaviour by MPs in the House of Commons, in particular during Prime Minister’s Questions. The report calls for tighter rules and harsher sanctions to be applied if behaviour does not improve.

As Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons Dawn shares the responsibility to ensure MPs conduct themselves in an appropriate manner during debates.

Dawn said:

“Too often the behaviour of MPs from all sides is simply not good enough. The most watched part of our proceedings is PMQs and this is frequently Parliament at its worst.

“It is not a surprise that many women would not wish to participate in Parliament, when they see PMQs and what has been described as its ‘testosterone fuelled atmosphere’.

“Whilst this is not an accurate representation of the work of an MP I have no doubt that it overwhelmingly informs public perception.”

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