The proportion of women in parliament must not be hit by an upcoming boundary review, a cross-party committee has warned.
Parliament's women and equalities committee has launched a new inquiry into the impact of the review on female representation within the House of Commons.
There are currently 192 female MPs in parliament – 30 per cent of the total of 650 – and the committee will look at how party selection processes respond to the work, which will reduce the total to just 600.
An initial set of proposed boundary reforms will be published next month, with final agreement to be reached by September 2018.
Committee chair Maria Miller noted that there are more male MPs now in parliament than the total number female MPs ever elected.
“We need to see proper diversity in public life – an important part of this is making sure the House of Commons is representative of the nation at large.
“Encouraging women into politics is an important first step but much more could and should be done to improve the retention of women MPs,” Miller said.
“If the number of seats in the House is reduced we need to ensure that it is not at the expense of a representative, modern parliament.”
The committee will consider three key areas, including what can be done to improve the proportion and retention of female MPs, as well as the implications of the boundary review. It will take written evidence until 12 September.