There have been thirteen Westminster by-elections since December 2016 and an extraordinary fact is that in all but one, Stoke Central in February 2017, the winning candidate has been a woman.
This streak began with Sarah Olney winning Richmond Park for the LDs, followed by the safe retention of Sleaford’s Caroline Johnson and N Hykham a week later for the Tories. Trudy Harrison won LAB’s Copeland for the Tories two months later, the same day as Stoke Central.
In Parliament 2017-2019, Orfhlaith Begley held West Tyrone for Sinn Fein, while Janet Daby, Ruth Jones and Lisa Forbes held Lewisham E, Newport W and Peterborough for Labor. Then in August 2019, Jane Dodds beat Brecon & Radnorshire of the Tories for LD.
This summer, Jill Mortimer won Hartlepool for the Tories, while Anum Qaisar-Javed retained Airdrie & Shotts for the SNP. Then a fortnight ago Sarah Green beat Chesham and Amersham on a 25% swing CON to RHP. In the early hours of yesterday, of course, Kim Leadbeater, pictured above, retained Batley and Spen for LAB.
So 92.3% of the winners of the recent elections have been women compared to the total 34% of all MPs.
Perhaps this is because candidate selection can make a big difference in high-octane secondary races. Party headquarters play an important role and women are seen as the best contenders.