‘SIX MORE WOMEN IN PARLIAMENT’

I HADN’T seen this old BBC footage before it was mentioned by Labour councillor Sarah Hayward on Twitter: Glenda Jackson winning her place in Parliament for the first time. Oliver Letwin is the Conservatives missing out in the Camden Centre in 1992. The constituency was then Hampstead and Highgate.

Lots of things to look out for:

* The red bar flashing Ken Livingstone holds Brent East. Sarah Teather turned, of course, turned that constituency Lib Dem many years later.

* Good old Jim Turner, the Mayor of Camden reading out the results was a good salt, a community champion respected by councillors of all parties who is sadly no longer with us.

* Dimbles muttering: “I’m not sure… she looks…” over the footage. I wish he had finished the sentence. How did she look? If I bump into him, I’ll ask him.

* The pirate. A turn once played by Jackson.

* Glenda being cut off in the middle of her speech about the homeless and the frail so that viewers could see John Major win in Huntingdon on his way to keeping the Conservative government afloat.

BUT above all of this, look out for the mini celebration in the studio that more than 50 of the MPs elected in 1992 were women.

Peter Kellner: Glenda Jackson is going up there. I just wanted to make the point that we have got more than 50 women in the new House of Commons, MANY MORE THAN BEFORE.

David Dimbleby: Six more than before.

Kellner: Many of the Labour gains have been women, especially in London. We don’t know whether Glenda Jackson will join the other women in the capital.

The cautionary tone in Dimbledore’s response says it all. Six more than before. That surely doesn’t represent ‘many more than before’. In a house with seven times as many seats, a figure of 50 sounds pretty paltry to me. Eighteen years later, the figures have inched up to 143 women in the Commons, compared with 507 male MPs.

Labour members locally agree that 143 figure should go higher to truly represent 52 pecent of the populaton. But – wait a minute – do they all want an all-women’s shortlist to land in Holborn and St Pancras or Hampstead and Kilburn when Glenda and Frank Dobson finally decide to call it a day. It would certainly cause some irritation in the queue.

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