HOLYROOD should impose statutory all-women shortlists like the Irish Republic, a report on last year’s election has argued.

The Electoral Reform Society (ERS) report said the change was needed after it found that “gender is perhaps the most obvious deficit” in ensuring that Holyrood is a parliament truly representative of Scots.

Only 45 women MSPs (34.9 per cent) were elected to the fifth Scottish Parliament, the exact same proportion as in 2011.

Labour, the SNP and Scottish Greens have all embraced positive action policies including all women shortlists and quotas to select parliamentary candidates.

The Scottish Conservatives were the only party at Holyrood not to see improvements in their share of women candidates from 2011, while the Scottish Liberal Democrats had no female MSPs elected.

However, the ERS report suggested the issue should now not be "left to the discretion of political parties".

Last May's election result, it continued, added "further weight" to calls for legislation which would mean all parties have to put forward at least 50 per cent women candidates in Scottish Parliament elections, the ERS added.

It stated that "parliament should be representative of our wider society. Gender is perhaps the most obvious deficit and many of the parties are stalling or falling in managing to get women into winnable seats. Perhaps it’s time to have a debate about how we ensure parties do this beyond just their good intentions?"

Arguing that political representation should not just be left to the political parties the report continues: "Increasingly the call in Scotland, backed by a large body of international evidence, is for tough action in the form of legislative quotas that require all parties to take action on women’s representation.

"This would follow the example of a growing number of countries around the world that have adopted statutory quotas to demonstrable effect (including, most recently, the Republic of Ireland). Certainly the results of the 2016 elections add further weight to these calls for change."

Scottish Green co-convenor Patrick Harvie stated his party's support for the Women 50:50 campaign for at least 50 per cent representation of women in parliament, councils and on public boards

Harvie said: “If parliament is to truly represent the people it serves then it must reflect the make-up of our society.

Calling for gender quotas he said: "Political parties, ourselves included, have failed to make gender-equal representation a reality, it’s time for bolder action.

"Our parliament and council chambers are still too male, too white, too old and too unrepresentative of those with disabilities and it’s just not good enough.”