Tough stance: Labour’s Jess Phillips PA
Labour should ban men from standing in all future by-elections until half the party’s MPs are female, women’s champion Jess Phillips MP has said.
With female politicians the likely casualty of the upcoming boundary review according to Mrs Phillips, she will demand Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn commits to their party becoming the first in Parliament to achieve gender equality.
Her comments came as Mr Corbyn, Conservative Party Chairman Patrick McLoughlin, SNP leader Angus Roberston and Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron were quizzed by the cross-party Women and Equalities Committee in the Commons as part of their inquiry into how constituency changes will impact on women.
Mrs Phillips, the new chair of the women’s parliamentary Labour party and committee member, said: “I think the Labour Party has to make every seat an all women shortlist until we get equality.
“Currently 44 per cent of Labour seats are held by women. We want 50 per cent equality in this party, and for Jeremy to commit to this on the public record.”
The Conservatives drive to reduce MPs from 650 to 600 is due to come into force by 2020. Labour is set to take the biggest hit and its female MPs are expected to be most at risk.
“Women are more likely to have a marginal seat so when your boundary shifts, you’re more likely to lose your seat,” said Mrs Phillips, MP for Birmingham Yardley.
This morning Mr McLoughlin was expected to defend the party’s reluctance to introduce quotas for female MPs within his party. Currently 21 per cent of Tory MPs are women, and their most recent by-election opportunity in David Cameron’s former Witney seat resulted in the selection of a male candidate.