Labour, local government candidates and women

This is a note on Labour selections, specifically around positive action programmes for women. I live in a London borough which elects all its council every four years from multi-member wards using FPTP. Certain by-elections must be selected using all-women short (AWS) lists. Here are my notes …

In a general election, positive action is to be taken with the aim of having gender balance in the candidates for winnable seats. All multi-member wards must have at least one woman and this means that some three member wards must have two. (Appendix 4 B.ii.d P96).

In the case of a by-election, the rules state,

Where there is a by-election and the group is less than 50% women the seat will be an all women shortlist.  (Appendix 4 B.v P97)

Interestingly these rules do not leave the final decision on AWS in the hands of the Regional Director, but the Chair of the NEC orgsub, who is constrained by rule to ensure there is a quid pro-quo across the slate in the case of a general election and to not (‘usually’) agree that Labour’s representation in any ward is all male. (Appendix 4 B.vi-vii P97)

I also cannot find the rule on balanced ward short-lists which Lewisham claimed to have adopted in 2017 although there is a rule that requires a short list to offer a choice, although it is written curiously in terms of cardinality.(Appendix 4 I.iii.e.4 P101)

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