Labour Party leader Harriet Harman has called for woman to make up half of the new shadow cabinet.
Speaking at a Unite conference in Manchester, the former Minister for Women and Equalities made the case for a shadow cabinet which would see numbers reduced from 22 to 16-8 of whom would be women under the proposal.
“Labour is the only party in parliament which speaks up for women in this country. We have some excellent, experienced women, and some brilliant new women MPs. We still do have twice as many men MPs as women. The Labour men are great – but they are not twice as good as the women.”
She further added that the election of a new leader for the party presented a “crucial opportunity” to re-connect the Labour party with the British people.
One male Labour former minister however criticised the move saying:
“This is extraordinary – there are not enough women who are both willing to stand for shadow cabinet and have the ability to do the job. That’s why she is also pushing for it to be cut in size. Overall, it would mean some of our best talent being denied a seat.”
Harman also spoke of the need for the Labour party leadership contest to reflect a renewed political debate.
“Rebuilding and renewing Labour is an important task and we must listen and learn. Our biggest loss of support was from hard-working families who, worried about housing and jobs, felt insecure and concerned about immigration.
Now there is a chance to debate these issues throughout the party and through the contest for the next Labour leader.”
The Labour leadership election will take place in September.
By Richard Sudan