UK election: Record number of female MPs elected
More than 200 women secure a seat in the House of Commons
Britain’s Home Secretary Amber Rudd’s speaks after retaining her seat at a counting centre for Britain’s general election in Hastings. Photograph: Reuters
There will be a record number of female MPs in the House of Commons after at least 207 women were elected in Thursday’s general election.
The 2017 parliamentary intake will outnumber the 196 women elected to the Commons in the 2015 election and subsequent byelections. The previous record for the number of women elected in a single general election was 191 in 2015.
Amber Rudd’s re-election took the 2017 figure past the 2015 total as she narrowly defended her Hastings and Rye seat following a strong challenge from Labour’s Peter Chowney.
The home secretary, touted as a future Conservative party leader, won with a majority of just 346. The re-election of the Greens’ Caroline Lucas in Brighton Pavilion took the tally over 200.
It was not until the 2015 parliament that the total number of female MPs in history surpassed the number of male MPs in a single parliament (454).
Constance Markievicz became the first woman elected to the Commons in 1918 following the Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act, which allowed women to stand as candidates. As a member of Sinn Féin she did not take her seat.
Nancy Astor, a Conservative, was the first woman to take her seat in the Commons after winning a byelection in December 1919 for the Plymouth Sutton constituency. Thursday also marked 104 years to the day since Emily Davison gave her life in the fight for women’s right to vote.
Davison became a symbol of women’s emancipation when she died of her injuries after throwing herself under King George V’s horse at the Epsom racecourse in 1913. She is believed to have been attempting to attach a scarf or flag calling for women to have the vote on to the horse’s bridle.