POLITICS

Absence Of Women On Welsh Select Committee Was 'Admin Error', MP Says

At least three females are expected to be on the final list.

21/09/2017 17:14
Matthew Horwood via Getty Images

A total absence of women on a select committee was down to an administrative error, an MP has said.

Labour’s Anna McMorrin, who was elected in Cardiff North for the first time in 2017, was told she would become a member of the Welsh Affairs selection committee back in July - but due to a processing mistake she was left off the list.

The committee was one of two with no female members - along with science and technology - a situation many MPs said was “unacceptable”.

McMorrin, who is also a member of the environment committee, told HuffPost UK: “I was asked by the chair and had agreed to be on it back on July, and was again asked at the beginning of last week.

“It was an intensely busy week and some names didn’t get forwarded by mistake - including mine - so I wasn’t added when it went to the Commons to be officially confirmed.”

Fellow Welsh Labour MP Tonia Antoniazzi is also expected to sit on the committee, along with Conservative Mims Davies.

The Lib Dems’ Norman Lamb wrote to Labour and Conservative whips last week to urge them to help make the science and technology committee, of which he is chair, more gender balanced.

He said: “I don’t see how we can proceed without women on the committee.

“It sends out a dreadful message at a time when we need to convince far more girls to pursue STEM subjects.

“We will not be effective as committee. There are three members of the committee still to be chosen by the parties - two Conservatives and one Labour.”

Tory MP Vicky Ford later announced she would be joining the science and technology group.

Several other committees - including defence and Brexit - are made up of less than 25% women.  Females only have a majority on women and equalities, health and education and just two groups - environment and home affairs - have a 50/50 gender split.

Parties can select the MPs representing them on select committees by any means they see fit, as long as it is in line with Parliamentary guidelines to ensure the process is “democratic and transparent”.

A full, updated list of committee members is expected to be published following conference recess.

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