LONDON: In a rather unconventional development, over 1,000 female candidates will take part in the upcoming general elections in the United Kingdom, scheduled to be held on Dec 12.
According to the data shared by the electoral commission, the total number of candidates vying for seats in the House of Commons, the Lower House of Parliament, is more than 3,300.
Out of the 3,300, 34 per cent are female candidates. As many as 23 candidates are of Pakistan/Kashmir-origin. Interestingly, the Labour Party has created history by fielding the most number of female candidates.
Some 631 individuals will be fighting in the polls on Labour and Co-operative Party tickets and out of those 333 are female candidates. The women outnumber the men, claim reports.
Labour had also fielded the highest number of female candidates in 2017, with a total number of 256 female candidates, which made up 41 per cent of the total number.
Nine female candidates of Pakistani origin are vying for a parliamentary seat on a Labour Party ticket. Three out of the nine – Shabana Mahmood, Yasmin Qureshi and Naz Shah – were members of the last two Parliaments.
The Conservative Party has fielded 635 candidates in the upcoming polls and out of those only 190 are female candidates, which makes up 30 per cent of the total candidates.
This is also a record number of female candidates put forward by the party. In the last two elections, the proportion of the Conservative Party’s female candidates stood at 26% and 29%.
Five women of Pakistani origin are vying for a parliamentary seat on a Conservative Party ticket. However, only one of them, Nusrat Ghani, has been elected twice. She also served as minister of transport in the last two cabinets.
The Liberal Democrats have fielded 611 candidates in the upcoming polls and out of the 188 are female candidates. Six female candidates of Pakistani origin are contesting the polls on a Liberal Democrat ticket and none of them have been elected before.
On the other hand, the proportion of female candidates in smaller party’s like the Greens and Scottish National Party (SNP) is higher, compared to the Liberal Democrats and Conservative party.
The Scottish National Party has fielded candidates on all 59 seats for Scotland in Westminster. Out of those, 20 are female which is 34 per cent of the total and is the same as the last elections.
The Brexit party, which will be taking part in the elections for the first time, has fielded 20 per cent, female candidates. The total number of Brexit Party’s candidates is 275 and out of that 54 are female candidates.
No female candidates of Pakistani origin will be representing SNP, Brexit or Plaid Cymru parties in the elections. Two Pakistani origin female candidates – Irum Altaf Kiyani and Humera Kamran – are also contesting as independent candidates in the upcoming polls.
The number of female candidates has steadily gone up since 1966. In the previous two elections in 2015 and 2017, the percentage of female candidates was 26 and 29, respectively.