An Open Letter on All Women Shortlists (initiated by the Fabian Women’s Network Executive Committee)

For circulation to: all NEC members and Dawn Butler MP (Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities)

Now more than ever, we need to see real and meaningful representation in British politics and to see Westminster reflect wider society.

All Women Shortlists (AWS) were adopted at 1993 Labour Party conference to address the underrepresentation of women. Since the 1997 General Election, it has been clear that using AWS has succeeded in putting the Labour Party far ahead of others in terms of proportionality of female elected MPs and councillors.

The Fabian Women’s Network is proud of these achievements and believe the Labour Party must be ready to build upon them. We notably have the most diverse shadow cabinet in parliamentary history with 15 out of 32 being women, four of whom are BAME. But the Labour Party now stands alone as the only major political party who has never elected a woman as leader.  It is therefore vitally important that we hold our ground – and improve the number of our women MPs.

Under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the party we welcome the increase in women members being selected as parliamentary candidates in our target seats. However, we note the continued underrepresentation of disabled and BAME women in these seats.

Labour Party policy mandates that only women are considered in half of the vacant seats the party is likely to win. AWS selections have therefore been installed in constituencies which there have previously only been male MPs, or where a female MP retires and the CLP request continuation of having a woman to represent them. We are concerned that the wishes of the CLP have been ignored in Vauxhall and Stockport. This is a step back for gender equality and representation.

Research shows that, for Labour, women selected via AWS have had more political experience than their male counterparts for in all elections, bar one. The Fabian Women’s Network notes that this strategy to increase representation is now at risk of being sidelined. This is clearly a serious equality and intersectional issue and we echo the concerns voiced by Unison in their recent letter.

A lack of clarity on the implementation of policy for the allocation of AWS so close to what is likely to be an autumn general election, is concerning and unsettling for CLPs and potential candidates alike. It also does a huge disservice to the tireless work done over many years to increase women’s representation in the party.

A 100 years after the first women MPs were elected, we urge the Labour Party to ensure the implementation of a transparent policy on All Women Shortlists.

The Fabian Women’s Network is committed to working with the Labour Party and wider Labour movement to improve underrepresentation of diverse groups (including BAME, working class, disabled, LBT) of women. We want to continue to demonstrate that the Labour Party is the party of equality, in words and deeds.
Signed by:

1. Sara Hyde (Fabian Women’s Network, Chair)
2. Shaista Aziz (Fabian Women’s Network, Co-Vice Chair)
3. Jos Bell (Fabian Women’s Network, Secretary)
4. Kindy Sandhu (Fabian Women’s Network Exec member)
5. Rachael Agnew (Fabian Women’s Network Exec member)
6. Sanchia Alasia (Fabian Women’s Network Exec member)
7. Tamara Cincik (Fabian Women’s Network Exec member)
8. Christine Megson (Fabian Women’s Network Exec member)
9. Denise Scott-McDonald (Fabian Women’s Network Exec member)
10. Emily Rowles
11. Beatriz Brown
12. Anya Sizer
13. Cllr Kelly Braund
14. Abigail
15. Lucy Caldicott
16. Mike Buckley
17. Jackie Taylor
18. Cllr Allison Gardner (Chair of Newcastle-under-Lyme CLP)
19. Cllr Anna-Joy Rickard
20. Cllr Amna Abdullatif
21. Cllr Helen Dennis
22. Marcia Hutchinson (Chair Manchester Labour Women’s Network)
23. Moritz Reithmayr
24. Sarah Webster
25. Cllr Sheila Chapman
26. Cllr Sarah Russell
27. Kathryn Mackridge
28. Cllr Liz Parsons
29. Maya
30. Linda Hobson
31. Jane Middleton
32. Rachel Cain
33. Rosie Duffield MP
34. Liz Hind
35. Cllr Rachel Massey
36. Cllr Kelly Grehan (Women’s Officer, Dartford CLP)
37. Marcie Winstanley
38. Amy Fowler
39. Graham McKerrow
40. Alexandria Hassett (LGBT Officer and Campaigns Officer Erith and Thamesmead CLP)
41. Deeba Syed (Women’s Officer, Bethnal Green and Bow)
42. Nicola Morrison (Policy and Political Education Officer)
43. Stephen Bradley
44. Sukhvinder Kaur (Officer – Birmingham Perry Barr CLP)
45. Rory Reynolds
46. Donna Briant (Chair, Old Bexley and Sidcup CLP)
47. Janet Mace
48. Carole Jones
49. Charlotte Hughes (Women’s Officer)
50. Cllr Clare Penny-Evans
51. Jenny Reeves (Faversham and Mid Kent CLP Women’s Officer)
52. Cllr Nicola Taylor
53. Cllr Clare McIntyre
54. Michelle Uden
55. Meenatchi Gopal (Women’s officer)
56. Sarah-Helen Snow
57. Tonia Antoniazzi MP
58. Jayne Edgar
59. Sarah Crook
60. Dr Tom Gardiner (Co-Convener Fabian Health Network)
61. Christine Angell
62. Dave Putson
63. Gloria De Piero MP
64. Cllr Charlotte Morris
65. Joanne Ainscough (Women’s Officer, Morecambe and Lunesdale CLP)
66. Rebecca Shirazi (Vice-Chair (Campaigns), Hampstead & Kilburn CLP)
67. Naomi Smith
68. Cllr Alina Gaskin (Chair, Dartford CLP)
69. Ali O’Brien
70. Kerry-Lynne Pyke
71. Cllr Nanda Manley-Browne (CLP BAME Officer)
72. Cllr Adele Barnett-Ward
73. Rebecca Montacute
74. Cllr Eve Holt
75.Natalie Boorman
76. Martine Woolley
77. Isobel Boyson
78. Kathy Fletcher
79. Cllr Rachel Lancaster
80. Rachael Loftus
81. Amrita Rose (Hackney South and Shoreditch exec member)
82. Pam Lowe
83. Lucy Furneaux
84. Cecily Holt
85. Charlotte Carson
86. Mary-Ann Stephenson
87. Sue Synodinos
88. Ashley Dalton (PPC Rochford & Southend East)
89. Cllr Shama Tatler
90. Hannah Lazell (Croydon North CLP Women’s Officer)
91. Cllr Catherine Stafford
92. Cllr Joanne Howcroft-Scott
93. Lisa Macnally
94. Astrid Walker (Trans Officer, LGBT+ Labour)
95. Harriet Gore
96. Cllr Jeanie Bell (CLP Women’s Officer)
97. Caroline Walsh
98. Cllr Gavin White (Secretary, Manchester Withington CLP)
99. Gillian Troughton
100. Lucien Senna
101. Carol Milner
102. Santha Blankley
103. Alison M Dunning
104. Fiona Ruddy
105. Joan Smith (Vice Chair (membership) Hyndburn CLP)
106. Dr Frances Rehal MBE QN (CLP Secretary)
107. Emma Whysall (PPC Chipping Barnet)
108. Catherine Stafford
109. Alexander Barlow
110. Anna Williams-Price (Women’s Officer, Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney CLP)
111. Laura Wright
112. Chris Paul
113. Cllr Gillian Pardesi
114. Eileen Walsh
115. Elizabeth Smith
116. Emily Batchelor
117. Marian Craig
118. Dan McGill (Policy Officer, Old Bexley & Sidcup CLP)
119. Cllr Rebecca Cooper (Leader of Labour Group, Worthing Council)
120. Marilyn Evers
121. Elizabeth Barnard
122. Rosalind Garton (North East Fife CLP Policy Officer)
123. Tom Schuller
124. Lorna Boyd
125. Kira Millana Lewis (Co-Chair KCL Labour, Co-Chair LGBT Labour London & SE)
126. Margaret Curran
127. Ruth Davidson
128. Scarlett McGwire
129. Laura Griffiths (Vice Chair Communications, Watford CLP)
130. Kirsty Taylor (Fundraising Officer Bethnal Green & Bow CLP)
131. Jayne Rice-Oxley
132. Cllr Stephanie Cryan
133. Charlotte Norton (Women’s Officer, Poplar and Limehouse)
134. Lynda Jessopp
135. Vera Baird
136. Margaret Onians
137. Kate Webber
138. Carole Jones
139. Mary Cannon
140. Esme Hicks
141. Lorna Boyd
142. Jeremy Fosten (Chair of Bexley Young Labour and Youth Officer for Old Bexley and Sidcup CLP)
143. Cllr Kate Chinn (CLP Membership secretary)
144. Holly Smith (Women’s Officer)
145. Oban Mackie
146. Dame Jane Roberts
147. Cllr Emma Louise Rapier
148. Karen Landles
149. Mhairi Tordoff
150. Allison Sanderson
151. Cecily (Branch Chair, Birmingham Fabian Rep)
152. Barbara Burfoot (Former Chair and Secretary 2001 Parliamentary Candidate)
153. Polly Toynbee
154. Liz Vincent
155. Helen Turner
156. Eva Tutchell
157. Catherine Fookes
158. Cllr Reema Patel
159. Charlie Sutton
160. Cllr Debbie Monksfield
161. Michelle Young
162. Samantha Reed
163. Cllr Maggie McTernan
164. Cllr Favour Ezeifedi
165. Anne Sassoon
166. Emily Brothers (LGBT Officer and former parliamentary candidate)
167. Baroness Ruth Lister
168. Laura Pascal
169. Astrid Walker (Trans Officer LGBT+ Labour)
170. Cllr Sophie Cameron
171. Mary Young
172. Isobel Moses
173. Christine McNaught
174. Angela Bailey
175. Cllr Jenny Mulholland
176. L Atherton
177. Elen Griffiths (Exec Member, Society of Labour Lawyers)
178. Sarah Hutchinson
179. Alex Beverley (Women’s Officer Plymouth Sutton & Devonport)
180. Anita Pollack (Chair, Newham Fabians, Former MEP)
181. Jane Bigham
182. Jennifer Smith
183. Roseanna Grayston
184. Cllr Andrea Mann
185. Sara Linton (Chair of Battersea Labour Party)

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