Leadership candidates in final plea for female vote

In a room packed with women, four men and one woman set out their pitches for being the Labour Party’s champion for women.

Blair’s babes

In a room packed with women, four men and one woman set out their pitches for being the Labour Party’s champion for women. After an exhausting number of hustings already, last night found the wannabe leaders quizzed exclusively on issues that affect women. The event, which was organised by the Fabian Women’s Network, covered a wide range of questions – from the internal issues within party politics to international women’s rights.

Hours before, Labour MPs voted on the percentage quota of women that should be in the shadow cabinet. The proportion favoured was 31 per cent – meaning that at least eight members of the team will be women. Although it remains under-representative of women, it is a lot more equal than the coalition cabinet – of which only 14% of positions are held by women, as Left Foot Forward reported in May.

The leadership hopefuls disclosed how they had voted:

• David Miliband, 30% to 50% in 2012;

• Andy Burnham, 31% now, in line with PLP proportions;

• Ed Miliband, 30% to 50% in 2012;

• Diane Abbott, 30% to 50% in 2012;

• Ed Balls, 40% now

Before the hustings began, David Miliband released his ‘five point plan for gender equality’. One of his most significant and radical ideas throughout this campaign is to consider job sharing for shadow ministerial positions. The Daily Mail consequently reported that Ed Balls and his wife, Yvette Cooper, would be considered to job share the role of shadow chancellor. Mr Balls denied the rumours.

Earlier in the campaign, he announced his campaign to restore Domestic Violence Protection Orders – an idea of the last government that the home secretary Theresa May has scrapped.

Mr Burnham’s idea of remote voting – so that MPs in constituencies out of London or those with other commitments could vote from home – seemed to be a popular idea. He also told the Women’s Network before his appearence:

“We need to support women who are or would like to be office-holders within the Party, through training, through mentoring and by abandoning forever the ‘sink or swim’ ethos.”

On the ‘macho culture’ that the Labour Party and parliament continue to suffer from, Ed Miliband said that he would like to see politics more of a nine-to-five job – ensuring that women wouldn’t have to choose between family duties and a career in politics.

Diane Abbott said that she had an advantage as she was the only of the five who had the experience of balancing being a single parent and a politician. She also pointed out how useful the annual women’s conference was for policy making and networking, and that she would bring it back to life if elected.

The blunder of the evening came from Andy Burnham, who admitted he was not familiar with the case of Iranian woman, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani – who was sentenced to death by stoning for adultery. His admission did not go down well among  members of the audience.

To see more on what each of the contenders has to say on women in the Party, read Lead4Women’s Q&A here.

24 Responses to “Leadership candidates in final plea for female vote”

  1. Shamik Das

    #LabourLeader candidates in final plea for female vote: http://bit.ly/deFVPu reports @clairee_french @leftfootfwd

  2. Claire French

    RT @leftfootfwd: Leadership candidates in final plea for female vote http://bit.ly/deFVPu < here you go, @JTSmyth

  3. Claire French

    @AishaGani that's not good. i've written up thoughts from last night: http://bit.ly/deFVPu

  4. Jessica Asato

    If you missed the Fabian Women's NEtwork hustings last night, this is a good summary by @clairee_french http://bit.ly/camud0

  5. Aisha Gani

    @clairee_french @leftfootfwd: Leadership candidates in final plea for female vote http://bit.ly/deFVPu < READ IT!

  6. Linda_Marric

    RT @clairee_french: RT @leftfootfwd: Leadership candidates in final plea for female vote http://bit.ly/deFVPu < here you go, @JTSmyth

  7. FabianWomen'sNetwork

    RT @leftfootfwd: Leadership candidates in final plea for female vote: http://bit.ly/deFVPu #LabourLeader

  8. House Of Twits

    RT @leftfootfwd Leadership candidates in final plea for female vote: http://bit.ly/deFVPu #LabourLeader

  9. Isla Dowds

    It is simply not accurate to say that this exclusively dealt with issues that affect women – except in the sense that some issues affect us all – but that is a very misleading way to express the wide ranging questions posed. Fabian Women are interested in candidates’s views on the entire spectrum, and on some, but not all of these, there will be particular ways in which women are affected; I feel this gives a rather narrow and almost ‘ parochial’ feel to what took place.

  10. Claire Spencer

    & another from @clairee_french for @leftfootfwd, who has looked into the Shadow Cabinet vote on gender quotas: http://s.coop/34v #lead4women

  11. Bruce Kentey

    Leadership candidates in final plea for female vote | Left Foot …: In a room packed with women, four men and one… http://bit.ly/dvmTnN

  12. Jeff

    Leadership candidates in final plea for female vote | Left Foot … http://bit.ly/9iQ3fj

  13. Jeff

    Leadership candidates in final plea for female vote | Left Foot … http://bit.ly/dh9mCC

  14. J Jackson

    Leadership candidates in final plea for female vote | Left Foot … http://bit.ly/aEpqlD

  15. Martin Mayer

    Leadership candidates in final plea for female vote | Left Foot … http://ht.ly/18VQa4

  16. Gordon Gibson

    RT @leftfootfwd: Leadership candidates in final plea for female vote: http://bit.ly/deFVPu #LabourLeader

  17. Malcolm Evison

    Leadership candidates in final plea for female vote | Left Foot Forward: http://bit.ly/9bSvAy via @addthis

  18. Robert

    161% not bad for all the candidates.

  19. A Cass

    Leadership candidates in final plea for female vote | Left Foot … http://bit.ly/98qJmH

  20. Spending Cuts and the Labour Leadership « If You Tolerate This…

    […] Leadership candidates in final plea for female vote (leftfootforward.org) Comments […]

  21. Claire French

    @lmwalter http://j.mp/cwUMpc 🙂 I would fully support job-sharing if there was a credible way of getting around polling implications.

  22. Felicity Slater

    Last belated tweet re. #lead4women hustings! RT @leftfootfwd Leadership candidates in final plea for female vote: http://bit.ly/deFVPu

  23. Labour Leadership Women’s Hustings | Fabian Women

    […] event received write-ups by Rowenna Davis in the New Statesman, Claire French for Left Foot Forward and by blogger Delilah. The hust was also live-tweeted using […]

  24. Women’s hustings in the media «

    […] on Left Foot Forward, Claire French says: In a room packed with women, four men and one woman set out their pitches for […]

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