Ahead of the UK’s general election this week, politics professor Andrew Reynolds of UNC Chapel Hill looks at LGBTQ representation in the new House of Commons.
At dissolution the UK House of Commons had by far the highest number of out LGBTQ MPs in the world at 39 (6%).
32 were elected in May 2015 and seven came out between 2015 and 2017. On Thursday all 39 incumbents are standing (17 Conservative, 14 Labour and 8 Scottish Nationalist) and only seven are vulnerable to losing their seats (four Labour, two Tory, one SNP).
With just a few days to go it is highly likely that the number of out LGBTQ MPs will increase further on June 8.
Reinforcing the dramatic gains LGBTQ Britons have made in public life over the last decade. If EVERY competitive out candidate – and every incumbent won – there would be 24 newly elected LGBTQ MPs and 37 re-elected MPs with two sitting gay and bisexual MPs defeated by gay challengers.
That would mean 61 LGBTQ MPs in total (9% of the House), though that is highly unlikely.
What is likely is that the gains made by LGBTQ candidates in June 2017 will outweigh any losses. All main parties have competitive LGBTQ challengers. The Tories have twelve potential new winners, Labour seven, the Liberal Democrats three and the Scottish Nationalists two.
In total 147 (4.5%) of the 3,000+ candidates on June 8th self-identify as LGBTQ – numbers almost identical to 2015 – but two years on many of the LGBTQ candidates are better positioned for victory.Both the Conservatives and Labour have identified 42 out LGBTQ candidates running under their banner.
The Liberal Democrats 30, the Greens 11, the SNP 10, UKIP 6, Plaid Cymru, the SDLP and the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland 2 each.
The UK wide poll averages as of June 1st 2017 show a 2% swing from Labour to the Conservatives.
If this were the result on Thursday a uniform swing of 2% would give the Tories two new LGBTQ MPs and Labour would lose two. Labour would still gain a new LGBTQ MP in Liverpool Walton. The Liberal Democrats would have no new LGBTQ MPs. The SNP would return a new MP in Edinburgh West.
Overall, the SNP have the potential to add two new LGBTQ MPs and lose one MP. The Liberal Democrats could gain up to three LGBTQ MPs.
However, at every election there are regional variations.
SCOTLAND: The latest polls in Scotland show a substantial but declining SNP vote and a smaller but increasing Tory vote. This would make John Nicolson (SNP) in Dunbartonshire East vulnerable to the Liberal Democrats. Plus, it would heighten the challenge for Toni Giugliano (SNP) to hold Edinburgh West and for Jim Eadie (SNP) to take Edinburgh South from Labour. However, a Tory bounce in Scotland does help Secretary of State David Mundell to retain his seat.
LONDON: The latest YouGov London poll shows Labour doing better in the capital. This would be enough to protect Wes Streeting (Lab-Ilford North) but make Simon Hughes’ (LD-Bermondsey and Old Southwark) chances of winning back his seat less likely.
WALES. It looks likely than the four existing LGBTQ MPs in Wales will be returned and no new ones will be elected.
GAY BOOST: A detailed analysis of the 2015 election showed that LGBTQ candidates for Labour outpolled their straight colleagues by approximately 2%, all else being equal. LGB Conservatives also did better than their straight colleagues in winnable constituencies. This ‘gay boost’ might be enough to protect the seats of Wes Streeting and Peter Kyle (Lab-Hove).
Among LGBTQ candidates there are 24 women and 121 men and 2 non-binary. This is almost identical to the gender balance in 2015. But any seat gains will be made by white gay men – only one woman has a long shot chance of winning. Thus, the current 30-9 male versus female caucus imbalance will likely be magnified after June 8.
There were four transgender candidates in 2015. this time there are seven candidates who identify as transgender and two as non-binary – though, as in 2015, none has a hope of winning.
In 2015 there were only 2 BME LGBTQ candidates – this time there is only one. Not in a winnable seat.
Stuart ANDREW – PudseyPeter ANTHONY – Blackpool SouthJames BELLIS – RotherhamJames BIRD – Walsall SouthCrispin BLUNT – Reigate Nick BOLES – Grantham & Stamford Conor BURNS – Bournemouth WestAdam CARNEY – MakerfieldChris CHAPMAN – Ilford SouthChris CLARKSON- Heywood & MiddletonTom DOWSE – Stalybridge and HydeAlan DUNCAN – Rutland & Melton Nigel EVANS – Ribble ValleyMark FLETCHER – Stockton NorthMike FREER – Finchley & Golders GreenWill GALLAGHER – ChesterChris GALLEY – WansbeckNick GIBB – Bognor Regis & Littlehampton Justine GREENING – Putney Nick HERBERT – Arundel & South DownPaul HOLMES – Southampton TestBen HOWLETT – Bath Margot JAMES – Stourbridge Daniel KAWCZYNSKI – Shrewsbury & AtchamCallum LAIDLAW – FalkirkMark MENZIES – FyldeOwen MEREDITH – Newcastle under LymeDamien MOORE – SouthportTaylor MUIR – Rutherglen & Hamilton WestDavid MUNDELL – Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale & TweeddaleKeiran MULLAN – Wolverhampton South EastEric OLLERENSHAW – Lancaster and FleetwoodLee ROWLEY – Derbyshire North EastThomas SMITH – BlaydonIain STEWART – Milton Keynes SouthRoss THOMSON – Aberdeen SouthKyle THORNTON – Glasgow SouthMark VIVIS – SloughEmma WARMAN – Brighton PavilionChris WILFORD – Poplar and LimehouseWilliam WRAGG – Hazel Grove
Olivia BAILEY – Reading WestVince BARRY – Torridge & Devon WestClive BETTS – Sheffield South East Ben BRADSHAW – Exeter Nick BROWN – Newcastle upon Tyne East Chris BRYANT – RhonddaStefano BORELLA – Bexleyheath and CrayfordDan CARDEN – Liverpool WaltonDaniel CHAPMAN – LewesSophie COOK – East Worthing and ShorehamAlan COWAN – Dundee WestAshley DALTON – Rochford and Southend EastRohit DASGUPTA – East HampshireJames DAWSON – Amber ValleyAlan De’Ath – Chelsea and FulhanStephen DOUGHTY – Cardiff South & Penarth Angela EAGLE – WallaseyBarrie FAIRBAIRN – Grantham & StamfordNia GRIFFITH – LlanelliMartin JEVON – Taunton DeaneGerald JONES – Merthyr Tydfil & RhymneySean KELLY-WALSH – CharnwoodGerard KILLEN – Rutherglen & Hamilton WestPeter KYLE – Hove Gordon MARSDEN – Blackpool SouthSandy MARTIN – IpswichMartin McCLUSKEY – InverclydeKevin McKEEVER – Northampton SouthMatthew NORMAN – Dwyfor MeirionnyddRoger PAGE – North HerefordshireHeather PETO – Rutland & MeltonLuke POLLARD – Plymouth, Sutton & DevonportStephen POWERS – HexhamSteve REED – Croydon NorthLloyd RUSSELL-MOYLE – Brighton KemptownAlex SKIRVIN – NewburyCat SMITH – Lancaster & FleetwoodFiona SMITH – HertsmereDoug SWANNEY – Hertfordshire North EastWes STREETING – Ilford North Stephen TWIGG – Liverpool West DerbyAndrea WATTS – Wellingborough
LIBERAL DEMOCRAT (30)
Keith ANGUS – Islington NorthMark ARGENT – Hertford & StortfordHelen BELCHER – ChippenhamAlan BULLION – Sevenoaks & SwanleyPaul CHILDS – WallaseyLee DARGUE – Birmingham LadywoodCallum DELHOY – Selby & AinstyDavid EVANS – GordonRichard FLOWERS – MacclesfieldJonathan FRYER – Dagenham & RainhamRichard GADSDEN – Blackley & BroughtonStephen GILBERT – St Austell & NewquayStewart GOLTON – Elmet & RothwellAndy GRAHAM – BroxbourneCharley HASTED – Swansea EastAlex HARDING – Westminster NorthAndrew HOLLYER – Derbyshire DalesSimon HUGHES – Bermondsey & Old SouthwarkAdrian HYYRYLAINEN-TRETT – IpswichSteven LAMBERT – AylesburyDavid LEE – Surrey EastBen MATHIS – Wolverhampton South EastAlisdair McGREGOR – Leeds WestKevin McNAMARA – ThurrockZoe O’CONNELL – MaldonRoss PEPPER – Sleaford & North HykehamImogen SHEPHERD-DuBEY – Milton Keynes NorthDavid STEVENS – InverclydeGerald VERNON-JACKSON – Portsmouth SouthStephen WILLIAMS – Bristol West
Hannah BARDELL – Livingston Mhairi BLACK – Paisley & Renfrewshire South Joanna CHERRY – Edinburgh South West Angela CRAWLEY – Lanark & Hamilton East Martin DOCHERTY-HUGHES – West DunbartonshireJim EADIE – Edinburgh SouthToni GIUGLIANO – Edinburgh West Stewart McDONALD – Glasgow South Stuart McDONALD – Cumbernauld, Kilsyth & Kirkintilloch John NICOLSON – East Dunbartonshire
Aimee CHALLENOR – Coventry SouthAndrew CREAK – CaerphillyPatrick HARVIE – Glasgow NorthDominic HORSMAN – Durham North WestRebecca JOHNSON – Hackney South and ShoreditchLee-Anne LAWRANCE – Runnymede & WeybridgeMalachai O’HARA – Belfast NorthWill PATTERSON – WiganVictoria PERCIVAL – Boston & SkegnessStörm POORUN – Lewisham EastAnne POWER – Preston
PLAID CYMRU (2)
Harri ROBERTS – GowerFflur ELIN – Pontypridd
Séamas de FAOITE – Belfast EastMartin McAULEY – Belfast North
ALLIANCE (NI) (2)
Andrew MUIR – Down NorthChris McCAW – Londonderry East
Chris BARNES – Salford and EcclesDavid COBURN – Kirkcaldy & CowdenbeathRichard HILTON – Mitcham & MordenNathan RYDING – WiganGary SHORES – Hull West & HesslePeter WHITTLE – South Basildon and East Thurrock
NB = Non BinaryIncumbent
Note: Data based on party identification and individual candidate publicity. Despite numerous requests the Green Party demurred from providing a list of out LGBTQ candidates. In an email of May 26th the Green Party ‘Membership Team’ claimed they had 71 LGBTQ identifying candidates but they were ‘anonymous’ and were not available to be listed. The UNC LGBTQ R&R Research Initiative very deliberately focuses on out, self-identifying candidates and elected officials. Indeed, we are in communication with LGBTQ identifying candidates in all parties who are not out, and thus do not appear in this report, upon their request.
We appreciate the data gathering assistance of:LGBT+ Conservative: Matthew GreenLiberal Democrats: Adrian Hyyrylainen-TrettLGBTQ Labour: James AsserLGBT in UKIP: Flo LewisLGBTQI Greens: Aimee ChanellorEquality Network: Tim HopkinsStonewall Cymru: Mabli JonesTony Scupham-BiltonPersonal contact with candidates
The LGBT Representation and Rights Research Initiative at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the first academic program focused exclusively on the link between the representation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and the legal and political rights afforded to those groups.
Andrew Reynolds is Professor of Political Science at UNC Chapel Hill. He tweets at @AndyReynoldsUNC.