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Edmonton members ask for all-women shortlist – why won’t Labour’s executive oblige?

Women and the cutsWhen all-women shortlists hit the mainstream media, it’s usually because certain party members are unhappy with their application. But in the ongoing centrally-controlled selection in Edmonton, sources tell us local members and elected constituency Labour party (CLP) officers have specifically requested an all-women shortlist. Now, surely this would be welcomed by Labour’s national executive committee (NEC)? Alas, they appear to have decided once again to ignore the will of local members, and men will be allowed on the shortlist too.

Affirmative measures to increase the representation of women have been fought ever since they were first mooted by grassroots party activists. Initially, the proposals of the Women’s Action Committee and the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy were fiercely resisted by the party’s leadership and bureaucracy. More recently, some CLP activists have complained that all-women shortlists have been applied, or indeed ruled out, by Labour’s executive to favour certain candidates in the running: women or men. This latest news only reinforces that perception.

Earlier this month, Jon Lansman expressed support on this blog for an all-ethnic minority shortlist, after BAME Labour lobbied for one. It is unclear whether the NEC has obliged on this request. Of course, there is no reason why the shortlist could not be made up of ethnic minority women if the constituency have made such a laudable request. The NEC has now decided on a longlist of candidates to interview – though as far as I can see the list hasn’t been disclosed. Luke Akehurst and Kingsley Abrams both complained on Twitter that they had not made the cut. It is thought the interviews will take place in the next few days, and a shortlist will then go forward and local members will make the final choice.

When CLP members complain about the imposition of an all-women shortlist, regional officials often say that such measures must be imposed from the top because no CLP would volunteer for such a shortlist. We would tend to agree. As Christine Shawcroft says, do we really get “the best” candidate when we have open selections? Really? So why do constituencies overwhelmingly select men in open selections?

But here we have a constituency where an all-women shortlist seems rather popular. Perhaps it’s no wonder, because Edmonton has never had a woman MP. Women are also more likely than men to vote Labour. If I were on the NEC’s special selection panel, I’d be doing some hard thinking now. Even if there are men on the longlist, there needn’t be any on the shortlist. There are plenty of fantastic women candidates in the running, as per usual. Why not, for once, make a decision that doesn’t stink of a stitch-up?


  1. Ric EUTENEUER says:

    Because there isn’t a Progress apparatchik who needs shoehorning into a seat, perhaps?

  2. John reid says:

    The women are more likely to vote labour than men, statistic, Is based on opinion polls, it’s a fact older people vote more than young, and older people are more likely to vote Tory, and women live longer than men, so it’s proved that ,more women vote Tory

  3. James Martin says:

    An all socialist shortlist for me please…

  4. Chris says:

    Anyone who supports all women shortlists is a bourgeois authoritarian and should be expelled from the Labour Party.

    Discrimination is never right and supporting sex discrimination makes you a sexist.

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