Middle-aged white male politician complains of reverse glass ceiling

Ian Swales became the MP for Redcar by accident. His plan at the 2010 election was to chip away at Labour's majority - instead he won with a swing of nearly 22 per cent to the Liberal Democrats, amid dissent over the proposed closure of Redcar's Corus steel plant.

Swales plans to stand down after May, and in a revealing interview with the Telegraph he claimed he was the wrong gender, sexuality and race to succeed in parliament.

I always say no, I don’t have a future here. I’m the wrong gender, the wrong sexuality, the wrong colour, the wrong age. That’s a joke. It’s just a comment about the political correctness really. You can see by some of these Cabinet appointments. Women still talk about glass ceilings - it’s clearly the opposite.

Speaking to i100.co.uk, Swales said his comments needed to be put into "context" and emphasised he currently mentored two female parliamentary candidates.

"It needs to be put in the context about the various imbalances that there are in parliament about other aspects of what we need such as scientists and so on. I'm a mentor to two parliamentary candidates who are both women. We need to work hard to ensure that parliament better reflects the society in which we live and we have a good balance of top people from all parts of society."

For context, there are five women in Cabinet and of the Liberal Democrats 57 MPs seven are women.

Responding to his comments Alexandra Runswick, the director of Unlock Democracy, told i100.co.uk: "A study by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in the Media found that where there are 17% of women in a group, men in the group see it as 50-50.

"Judging by Ian Swales MP's comments this is true for Parliament too. Even with the increase in 1997 progress on women's representation in Parliament remain painfully slow. Only 23% of MPs are women and David Cameron has failed to reach his target of 1 in 3 government ministers being women. We are still far more likely to hear about a female MPs shoes than her political views."

More: What women (voters) want, in three charts

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