Saturday, 25 April 2015

More Out MPs in 2015?

It was pleasing to read research that suggests we may have more LGBT MPs in the coming parliament than the old one.  I'd been worrying the academics were all busy and I was going to have to do the maths myself.

The 2010 parliament had 27 out LGB members - 13 Conservative (4% of their parliamentary party), 9 Labour (3%), 4 Lib Dem (7%) and 1 Plaid Cymru (33%).  Of these, two were bi men (one Lib Dem, one Tory) and two gay women (one Tory, one Labour): the remaining 22 gay men.  In the interests of multi-party balance I should add that the DUP are probably most emphatic that none of the 26 are theirs.

27 is a significant slice of the 36 out bi or gay MPs we've ever had. If you were ever an out-LGB MP, the chances are you still are one. There haven't been any openly trans MPs in the UK yet, and though there are trans candidates for most of the mainland parties - indeed one of them currently being splashed over the papers as trans, queer and poly - alas none look likely to break through.  Sorry Zoe.

For all that the polls suggest another hung parliament, they also suggest one with a swing to the right: we will have a different bunch of MPs running the show. It looks like fewer Lib Dem MPs and more SNP members, and a huge switcharound of Labour MPs as they lose a swathe of seats in Scotland and gain others in England. Probably quite some turnover of Tory MPs too.

All sides, pretty much, have out candidates. There are 38 for the Liberal Democrats, 35 Labour, 28 Tory, 22 Green, 5 UKIP, 3 Plaid Cymru, 1 SNP and 1 Alliance.  The latter three parties only stand in 40, 59 and 18 seats respectively.

That said, in UK elections most candidates don't get elected. There's not many openly-LGBT potential new MPs in Tory-gain or SNP-gain type seats, but there are a few in Labour-gain seats. If the polls turn around for the Lib Dems, the seats they'd gain would add a little to the tally too. So we can look forward to fresh queer faces on the green benches after May 7th.

To keep bisexual geeks on their toes, both existing seats with bi MPs - and the one that might gain a new out bi MP - are seats that might change hands.  The Conservative seat of Shrewsbury and Atcham has been in blue, gold and red columns in the last fifteen years, while the Liberal seat of Southwark and Old Bermondsey has been a Labour target at every election since 1983. Labour hope to gain Stockton South: on current polls they should do as it's a very Labour seat that flipped blue in 2010.

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