Gender make-up of the new European Parliament

Labour Party

Gender Balance 2014

I thought it would be a good time to take a look at the gender balance of the new European Parliament.

The Parliament has always been ahead of the curve in terms of gender representation, with a steady increase in the number of female MEPs with every election since its inception. In 2009, thirty-five per cent of MEPs elected were women, and this time it was thirty-seven per cent. This somewhat puts to shame the UK parliament which currently only has twenty-two per cent female MPs with little hope for significant change at the general election next year.

Which is why is slightly surprising to see that within the UK delegation to the European Parliament, women make-up forty-one per cent of representatives (30/73). This might be in large part down to Labour efforts to get more female MEPs, with eleven of our twenty seats going to women. It’s the first time that women have made up more than fifty per cent of the Labour delegation here and it is a very encouraging sign.

The Conservatives have only six women in their ranks of nineteen, while UKIP have a rather measly seven of their twenty-four. The Conservatives have never been very good on this issue, with only fifteen per cent of their MPs in Westminster being women, and they don’t seem to be any closer to addressing the issue as I discussed in a recent blog.

I must admit that UKIP have made some improvements since last time, where they only had two female MEPs in 2009. They had even fewer by the end of the parliamentary term though, with Marta Andreasen and Nikki Sinclaire leaving the party, both citing various reasons of which the sexism and chauvinism of their colleagues were prominent. I hope that this current group of UKIP MEPs can be slightly more accommodating to their female colleagues, but I don’t have much hope.

Country by Country Break Down 2014

From the Archive: Nigel Farage accused of being Stalinist and anti-women

Labour Party

This blog comes from February of this year at a time when Marta Andreasen MEP was thinking about quitting UKIP.  Well for any of you who don’t know, she did quit in the end and is now a member of the Conservative party and is part of the European Conservative and Reformist group.  Seemingly the bullying, sexism and general chauvanism that characterises the UKIP delegation in the European Parliament became too much for her.  I think I probably disagree with Marta on a good many things, but on this I can feel nothing but sympathy for her; having to work with the likes of Farage, Bloom, and Batten can’t have been easy.

Nigel Farage accused of being Stalinist and anti-women

Political aficionadas, not to mention geeks, may remember when UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom told the world way back in 2004 that a woman’s place was cleaning behind the fridge.

Incredibly, UKIP misogyny has just got much worse. Marta Andreasen, their only woman MEP, has launched a searing attack on Nigel Farage. “He (Farage) doesn’t try to involve intelligent professional women in positions of responsibility in the party. He thinks women should be in the kitchen or in the bedroom.” she told the BBC.

Marta Andreasen, who represents South East England in the European Parliament, has said she is unlikely to stand as a UKIP candidate next year. Andreasen, who worked for the European Commission before joining UKIP and being elected in 2009, told the BBC that “if things don’t change” within the party “she can’t imagine a way to continue”.

Andreasen continued by telling the BBC that she had been openly criticised by her party leader and other MEPs, suggesting that this amounted to bullying. “I’ve been bullied, in private situations, for decisions I have made by Nigel. I have been accused of being disloyal, breaching confidence and breaching my contract with the party. There’s an attitude that either you keep silent about everything that’s been going on in the party or suffer the consequences.” Ms Andreasen said she believed Mr Farage – who was re-elected as leader in 2010 after standing down a year earlier to contest a Westminster seat – “did not like women”.

Farage’s views on women are not, apparently, the only problem. Ms Andreasen told LondonlovesBusiness.com: “Under his (Farage’s) leadership – and I have questioned his leadership obviously a number of times – the party (UKIP) has become a dictatorship. This is a Stalinist way of operating and he doesn’t care about the membership or the grassroots.”

Andeasen says she plans to stay in the European Parliament as a UKIP representative until the end of the current Parliament in 2014, to see out her mandate and “look for ways I can continue to represent the membership”. She may consider standing as an independent next year.

It’s worth remembering former UKIP MEP Nikki Sinclaire, a lesbian, who won a sex discrimination case against her former colleagues on a default judgement at Exeter Employment Tribunal after UKIP failed to lodge a defence. Sinclaire claimed UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom had called her “queer”.

From the Archive: UKIP’s remarkable ability to shed MEPs

Labour Party

This is a blog from 7 June 2011 regarding  the defection of David Campbell-Bannerman from UKIP to the Conservatives.  UKIP have continued to have problems holding on to their MEPs. Since this blog was written Marta Andreasen’s public row with UKIP leader Nigel Farage has resulted in her defecting to the Tories.

UKIP’s remarkable ability to shed MEPs

David Campbell-Bannerman who defected last month from UKIP to the Conservatives has written an interesting justification on Conservative Home. He argues that the Conservatives are the best placed party to secure Britain leaving the European Union:

‘I believe it is only the Conservative Party that can realistically offer a way out of the EU, through a future manifesto or through support for an In/Out referendum.’

I do wonder when he applied for membership which David Cameron  category of UKIP member he was listed under – fruitcake/loony/closet racist?

This does seem a very sudden decision, as in the current edition of this newspaper David Campbell-Bannerman criticises the Conservative-lead government’s defence and foreign policy in very robust terms. UKIP reaction has alleged careerism, and this image from the Independence Home website encapsulates many of their views.

I think the British media generally still underestimate how Eurosceptic the Conservative Party is, and this defection makes the Conservative MEPs an even more right wing grouping. UKIP do have a singular ability to lose MEPs. In the 2004-9 Parliamentary term a quarter of its MEPs departed for the delights of Spain and Her Majesty’s Pleasure. Since 2009 Nikki Sinclaire MEP no longer follows the UKIP whip following her complaints about homophobia and now another MEP leaves. Nigel Farage and Marta Andreasen are conducting a very public row at present. It will be little surprise if we reach the 2014 European elections with a quarter or more of UKIP MEPs no longer representing the Party the public thought they were voting for.

Nigel Farage accused of being Stalinist and anti-women

Labour Party

Political aficionadas, not to mention geeks, may remember when UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom told the world way back in 2004 that a woman’s place was cleaning behind the fridge.

Incredibly, UKIP misogyny has just got much worse. Marta Andreasen, their only woman MEP, has launched a searing attack on Nigel “too much air time” Farage. “He (Farage) doesn’t try to involve intelligent professional women in positions of responsibility in the party. He thinks women should be in the kitchen or in the bedroom.” she told the BBC.

Marta Andreasen, who represents South East England in the European Parliament, has said she is unlikely to stand as a UKIP candidate next year. Andreasen, who worked for the European Commission before joining UKIP and being elected in 2009, told the BBC that “if things don’t change” within the party “she can’t imagine a way to continue”.

Andreasen continued by telling the BBC that she had been openly criticised by her party leader and other MEPs, suggesting that this amounted to bullying. “I’ve been bullied, in private situations, for decisions I have made by Nigel. I have been accused of being disloyal, breaching confidence and breaching my contract with the party. There’s an attitude that either you keep silent about everything that’s been going on in the party or suffer the consequences.” Ms Andreasen said she believed Mr Farage – who was re-elected as leader in 2010 after standing down a year earlier to contest a Westminster seat – “did not like women”.

Farage’s views on women are not, apparently, the only problem. Ms Andreasen told LondonlovesBusiness.com: “Under his (Farage’s) leadership – and I have questioned his leadership obviously a number of times – the party (UKIP) has become a dictatorship. This is a Stalinist way of operating and he doesn’t care about the membership or the grassroots.”

Andeasen says she plans to stay in the European Parliament as a UKIP representative until the end of the current Parliament in 2014, to see out her mandate and “look for ways I can continue to represent the membership”. She may consider standing as an independent next year.

It’s worth remembering former UKIP MEP Nikki Sinclaire, a lesbian, who won a sex discrimination case against her former colleagues on a default judgement at Exeter Employment Tribunal after UKIP failed to lodge a defence. Sinclaire claimed UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom had called her “queer”.

UKIP’s remarkable ability to shed MEPs

Labour Party

David Campbell-Bannerman who defected last month from UKIP to the Conservatives has written an interesting justification on Conservative Home. He argues that the Conservatives are the best placed party to secure Britain leaving the European Union:

‘I believe it is only the Conservative Party that can realistically offer a way out of the EU, through a future manifesto or through support for an In/Out referendum.’

I do wonder when he applied for membership which David Cameron  category of UKIP member he was listed under – fruitcake/loony/closet racist?

This does seem a very sudden decision, as in the current edition of this newspaper David Campbell-Bannerman criticises the Conservative-lead government’s defence and foreign policy in very robust terms. UKIP reaction has alleged careerism, and this image from the Independence Home website encapsulates many of their views.

I think the British media generally still underestimate how Eurosceptic the Conservative Party is, and this defection makes the Conservative MEPs an even more right wing grouping. UKIP do have a singular ability to lose MEPs. In the 2004-9 Parliamentary term a quarter of its MEPs departed for the delights of Spain and Her Majesty’s Pleasure. Since 2009 Nikki Sinclaire MEP no longer follows the UKIP whip following her complaints about homophobia and now another MEP leaves. Nigel Farage and Marta Andreasen are conducting a very public row at present. It will be little surprise if we reach the 2014 European elections with a quarter or more of UKIP MEPs no longer representing the Party the public thought they were voting for.

Interviews on BBC’s Record Europe and Europarl TV

Labour Party

I was interviewed this week for BBC’s Record Europe.  Marta Andreasen of UKIP and I were talking about the European Court of Justice’s recent ruling making it illegal to consider gender when profiling for insurance purposes.  Rather unsurprisingly we have rather different views on the matter.  You can watch the whole program here on BBC iplayer (if you live in the UK).  I will try and put up the interview on here when I can get the clip on its own.

I was also interviewed for Europarl TV talking about women in politics.  It is a short but very interesting piece, you can watch it here.