Record number of women elected to British Parliament
By James Masters
LONDON (CNN) — It’s official — Britain will have more women members of Parliament than ever before.
On a dramatic night that shook the political establishment to its core and forced Prime Minister Theresa May to place her Conservative Party into a coalition with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, some 207 female lawmakers were elected to the House of Commons.
With one seat yet to be declared, that number already surpasses the 196 elected in the 2015 vote and subsequent by-elections.
One of the biggest surprises came in Canterbury, Kent, where Rosie Duffield clinched the seat for Labour for the first time since 1918.
There was also history made in the constituency of Birmingham Edgbaston, where Preet Kaur Gill became the first Sikh women to be elected to Parliament.
Caroline Lucas, the Green Party’s only member of Parliament, retained her seat in Brighton Pavilion with a healthy majority.
Labour’s Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary, and Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign minister, both enjoyed successful evenings Thursday.
But others such as Home Secretary Amber Rudd just managed to remain in Parliament.
Rudd won her constituency in Hastings and Rye by a few hundred votes
The Women’s Equality Party ran seven candidates in this year’s election but failed to win a single seat.
Just two years ago, the total number of women to become members of Parliament in history surpassed the number of males in a single Parliament.
In 1918, Constance Markievicz became the first woman elected to the House of Commons. But as a member of the Irish nationalist Sinn Fein, she did not take up her seat.
Instead, Nancy Astor became the first woman to take her seat in the Commons after winning the Plymouth Sutton Constituency by-election in 1919.
This year’s election took place 104 years to do the day since Emily Davison gave her life to the suffragette cause by jumping in front King George V’s horse at Epsom racecourse in 1913.
It is thought she was attempting to attach a flag to the horse’s bridle calling for women to have the right to vote.