All-women shortlist for Manchester Central?

Labour Uncut has learned that party bosses are considering whether to impose an all-women shortlist in the forthcoming process to select Tony Lloyd’s successor in the Manchester Central constituency.

Lloyd, the former chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party, is set to step down from the House of Commons to run as Labour’s candidate in the forthcoming election to become Greater Manchester’s first police and crime commissioner. Under party rules he will need to relinquish his Westminster seat ahead of the November election for the PCC, triggering a by-election.

Lloyd was interviewed by an NEC panel for the police commissioner’s role last Saturday. Surprisingly his was the only candidacy, making his “selection” as Labour’s PCC candidate academic.

Whether the subsequent selection takes the form of an official all-women shortlist (AWS) is currently unclear, however another option would be for party chiefs to simply present members with a shortlist of women candidates, without formally designating as an AWS.

All five of Manchester’s current crop of Labour MPs are men.

Lloyd’s selection now makes a by-election in Manchester Central a racing certainty with Ed Miliband’s deputy chief of staff Lucy Powell strongly rumoured to be in the running. She stood in neighbouring Manchester Withington in the 2010 general election, however she didn’t manage to prise the seat from Lib Dem John Leach.

She faces stiff competition in Central. Other potential candidates rumoured to be interested include Manchester councillors Mike Amesbury, Rosa Battle and Afzal Khan. Amesbury, a former party staffer in the North West, is Manchester’s well-regarded cabinet member for culture. Popular with the local party it is thought he has the support of most of the local councillors in the constituency.

Afzal Khan, a respected local solicitor and community leader, is a former Lord Mayor of Manchester. He was initially rumoured to be interested in running against Lloyd for the police commissioner’s role but did not in the end apply. Previously he was linked with the party’s nomination in the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election.

Councillor Rosa Battle, meanwhile, works for neighbouring Labour MP Graham Stringer and serves as Manchester’s assistant cabinet member for culture and leisure. She is the daughter of veteran local councillor Jim Battle.

The imposition of an all-women shortlist on a by-election selection process would be unprecedented, but insiders claim Manchester’s lack of female representation may spur party chiefs into the ‘soft’ AWS option by drawing up a list of women-only candidates.

However leaving talented men out of the frame may provoke a backlash locally and make a victory in the usually rock-solid Manchester seat more problematic. The party usually avoids antagonising local activists during by-elections by ensuring strong local candidates are at least interviewed for the shortlist.

Tony Lloyd had a 10,430 majority at the last general election.

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7 Responses to “All-women shortlist for Manchester Central?”

  1. swatantra says:

    Being in favour of AWS, I wish the Party had already designated which were to be AWS so people like Lloyd don’t get the impression that they don’t want him as Commissioner.Sill it’ll save Lloyd having to step down and force yet another byelection. Hope there is a strong shortlist of AWS drawn up. Because whoever gets nominated will most certainly get the job.
    Its about time the Party investigated nepotism in the Party.

  2. Chris says:

    I always find it interesting that a party which wraps itself in the cloak of equality is happy to tell men “it doesn’t matter how good or talented you are, you can’t stand; for the simple reason that you are the wrong sex”. AWS are stupid, hypocritical and self-defeating. It also, of course, denies a selected woman the confidence that comes from the knowledge that she was selected on merit alone.

    Finally, what sort of a woman is Jack Dromey? His selection really was a classic case of ‘you couldn’t make it up’ – husband of Hattie Harperson, haranguing harpie of miltant wimminhood (oh yes, and privately educated niece of Earl of Longford), selected for a safe seat in spite of AWS. How does that happen, eh?

  3. Stuart Bruce says:

    I’d be in favour of it being designated an AWS, but the idea of a the ‘soft option’ of simply shortlisting women candidates is appalling and will simply ‘prove’ to the critics and cynics that by-election selections are ‘fixed’. It has to be done properly and seen to be done properly.

  4. Vernon Blake says:

    More evidence of how the political elite impose their will on the (voting) public. Manipulating the selection process by initiating an all female list smacks of desperation and is very shortsighted. Women have every right to be put forward for selection, however wouldn’t the constituency prefer that the “best” candidate is chosen regardless of gender? Am I missing something?

  5. swatantra says:

    You are. The ‘best candidate’ argument is a fallacy.
    Take a look at the present incumbents of the House and don’t tell me that we couldn’t do a lot better.

  6. swatantra says:

    In general less than 60 members actually bother to turn up to vote for their PPC.
    And what happens is that the candidate that can organise his /her cronies to turn out in mass, usually walks off with the nomination, regardless of whether they are a good medicre or rubbish candidate. Sometimes a LP HQ official sits in on the selection process, but there’s b****r all they can do unless a sexual indiscretion can be uearthed or pinned on the individual.

  7. Jim Leake says:

    For some reason some Labour Party members seem to review the Labour Party Rule Book, select some Rule(s) they don’t like, and then spend “air time” seeking to debase the Rule. The joint provisions the LP has made re AWS and minimum women representations are just such items. In 2012 under 300 woman MPs of all parties had been elected to Parliament. This was matched (no, mismatched!) by an excess of 4300 male MP’s. Accept the fact: talk of “level playing fields” is drivel. I am so PROUD that we have tilted the level playing which MAY just begin to correct this travesty. And remember, the LP Part Conference is sovereign on these issues……if you think you have a case, get stuck into getting your view through Conference! Fat chance!

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