Election 2017

Largest number of Welsh female MPs elected

Anna McMorrin MP Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Anna McMorrin won Cardiff North from Conservative Craig Williams by more than 4,000 votes

A record number of women have been elected to be MPs in Wales, but the nation still lags behind the UK.

Twenty eight percent of Welsh MPs are women compared to a total of 32% in Westminster as a whole.

Two of the four Welsh seats to change hands on Thursday went to women, making 11 of Wales' 40 MPs female.

Of those 10 are Labour MPs and one Plaid Cymru, while the Conservatives are yet to see a woman candidate elected as an MP.

It is in contrast with the Welsh Assembly where 42% of its 60 members are female, so why is the picture so different?

Diana Stirbu, senior lecturer in public policy at London Metropolitan University said: "I think there are a couple of factors - one is that the assembly has a different system that has an element of proportional representation.

"The other is that the Labour party and Plaid Cymru took positive action to put forward women for seats in the first three Assembly terms.

"To an extent they have moved away from taking that positive action now.

"But because the Welsh Assembly was a new place it meant they were allowed to be a bit more progressive in putting women forward."

In the general election, seven of the 40 Welsh seats were uncontested by women.

Labour had more women candidates than any other party - 16 out of 40 - with eight defending seats and eight challenging.

The Conservatives and Lib Dems had 13 apiece - all of who were unsuccessful in winning their constituencies.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Byron Jones (l) looks on as Tonia Antoniazzi celebrates victory in Gower by more than 3,000 votes

But Labour candidates Anna McMorrin and Tonia Antoniazzi won Cardiff North and Gower respectively from the incumbent Conservative MPs.

"With Westminster elections the problem is that the only party that is really serious about it is the Labour party," said Ms Stirbu.

"Progress in women MPs being elected in Wales has only been down to them.

"All parties have increased the number of candidates they put forward, but it is important where you place the candidates too.

"You can see that by the fact it has been another election where the Conservatives failed to get a Welsh female MP elected."

Five of the 11 female MPs were elected by a margin of more than 10,000 votes.

Image copyright Hulton Archive
Image caption Megan Lloyd George was Wales' first female MP

Jac Larner from Cardiff University's Wales Governance Centre said: "I think it is the success of the Labour Party in Wales - when the Labour party are doing well there are always more women, whether it is in the assembly or Westminster.

"The assembly has a very impressive record on women's representation as a whole - it was discussed all over the world when it was the first to achieve 50/50 representation.

"That is because the Labour Party had so many AMs and took some positive action such as twinning constituencies, so if a male candidate was put up in one, a female had to be nominated in the other."

The 11 MPs representing the country is a big increase on 20 years ago, when just four from Wales were women - all of them Labour.

And all of the main parties in Wales (excluding UKIP) have seen significant increases in the proportion of women candidates they have fielded since 2001.

Wales' first female MP was Megan Lloyd George - whose father, David Lloyd George, was the only Welshman to have become prime minister.

She became the first woman MP in Wales in 1929 when she won the Anglesey seat for the Liberal Party aged 27.

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