New Commons Culture, Media and Sport committee with only white, male, members is 'unacceptable', say senior figures in journalism

Ethnic minorities and women are not represented in the new committee

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The Independent Online

Senior media figures who head an organisation which campaigns for female journalists has said it is “no longer acceptable” for the new House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport select committee to be comprised exclusively of white males.

The 11-strong panel will include previous members Paul Farrelly of Labour; Damian Collins of the Conservatives; and Labour’s Steve Rotherham, T he Guardian has reported.

Conservatives MPs, including the chair, Jesse Norman, take up six of the posts. Others include Andrew Bingham, newly elected MP Nigel Huddleston, and Nigel Adams.

Farrelly and Rotherham will be joined by fellow Labour colleagues Ian Lucas, the former shadow Defence Minister, and Chris Matheson, who was elected in May.

The SNP’s John Nicolson has also secured a seat on the committee.

It is understood that no women stood for any elections to join the panel held by their respective parties

Conservative MP Damian Collins, pictured alongside his wife Lord Mayor of Westminster Sarah Richardson, will be a member of the committee. (Photo: Getty Images)

Raising concerns about the lack of diversity in the committee, Eleanor Mills, editorial director of the Sunday Times and chair of Women in Journalism, told The Independent: “I thought we had gotten to a point where this is no longer acceptable.”

“I'm pro diversity in all its forms, and I think that in the UK that means representing people from different classes, sexes, genders and ethnicities."

Citing research suggesting that organisations of all kinds enjoy better profitability and make better decisions when at least 30 per cent of their committees are diverse in gender and ethnicity, she said: “It’s saddening to see such homogeneity at the top.”

“It should not be acceptable to have that kind of committee in the 21st century,” she added.

Helen Lewis, Deputy Editor of the New Statesman and WIJ Deputy Chair, said: “We know that our media shapes society as well as reflects it, and so it's a shame that the MPs overseeing the sector are so unrepresentative of the general population. "

Linking the result to the underrepresentation of women in the House of Commons as a whole, she added: “Sadly, I think this situation has arisen because only 29 per cent of our parliament are women, and so there aren't enough to go around all the committees.

"Women in Journalism has long called for better representation of women - both working in media and depicted within it - and we hope the men on the committee will demonstrate their commitment to addressing the issue," she said.