Lead for Women have written an open letter to Labour’s NEC, calling for them to take action now to ensure we have an equal number of women and men in the PLP after the next election. Labour has always led the way on equality, but with fewer than a third of our MPs women, it is clear that we need to go further, faster.
We want to let Labour’s NEC know that there is real support for them taking strong action to ensure we have women candidates in the seats where it matters. Please email us on email@example.com to add your name, and let us know your CLP or affiliate.
FAO: Labour Party National Executive Committee members
During the leadership election, all the candidates said they want to see gender balance in the PLP. We are delighted that Ed Miliband has reiterated his support for All Women Shortlists as an important and necessary means of ensuring that this happens.
We are pleased to see the NEC is conducting a consultation on selections, and we are calling on them to take action now to ensure that at the next general election we do have an equal balance of women and men amongst Labour’s parliamentarians.
If the LibDem coalition’s gerrymandering bill goes through and the number of constituencies is reduced, then it is very likely that far fewer seats are up for selection later in this Parliament, including fewer Labour-held seats vacated by retiring MPs.
Currently, there are 253 Labour MPs, and just 81 of these are women. If we are to achieve gender balance, then we need to see many more women selected – not just in target seats, but also crucially in Labour-held seats if the MP stands down. All Women Shortlists in 50% of target seats sounds equitable on paper, but in practice it will come nowhere near achieving gender balance in the PLP after the next election,
Therefore, we are calling on the NEC to take action in selections to put our shared commitment to a representative PLP into action, including:
• applying All Women Shortlists in more than 50% of winnable seats being selected early;
• developing a policy for selections after the boundary changes (including in merged seats where there are already Labour MPs) that ensures achieving gender balance is a real priority;
• look at selection methods in all seats to ensure they are open and accessible to all (including longer time scales for application, competency-based tasks etc) as “open-shortlist” should not, in effect, mean “male candidate”.
Lead for Women