Sunday, 16 March 2008

Labour branch suspended over "compulsory women" candidates

From the Northern Echo 15th March 2008

Labour candidates face deselection - “positive discrimination gone mad”

The regional Labour Party has suspended the Easington constituency over its refusal to appoint 50% “compulsory women” candidates for the upcoming local elections on 1st May this year.

Easington Labour Party is refusing to accept the national Labour dictat that half of all local candidates selected must be women, regardless of any other considerations. With only four women out of 22 candidates chosen by the local party for the Easington area, at least seven men are certain to be deselected, and it could be more.

Easington executive member Alan Cummings describes the ruling as “positive discrimination gone mad.” Leading Wear Valley Labour councillor Charlie Kay, who has twice been thwarted by Labour’s selection process, says: “why should we have half women nominations when only 30 per cent of our members are female?”

Cobbler's apprentice writes: Cllr Kay is remaining loyal to the party, but his fellow Wear Valley councillor, council chairman Eddie Murphy, has handed in his Labour party card and will fight as an Independent. He blames the “one woman” rule for his failure to be selected, and accuses North West Durham Labour MP Hilary Armstrong of having an undue influence on the selection process.

[see later story "Labour bosses back down" 28th March 2008]

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