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IMPROVING DIVERSITY

The Review has taken substantial evidence and received large number of submissions about
how we improve the representation of under-represented groups both within the Party and
as candidates for public office. Women, BAME, disabled members and LGBT+ members have
spoken to us about their personal experiences and what action they believe is required.
We have had many requests for various types of positive action. So we have looked at what
is possible in law as any action we take must comply with the Equalities legislation.
We have had repeated requests that we recommend BAME only shortlists, disabled
member only shortlists and LGBT+ only shortlists for Parliamentary selections. This is
currently not possible in law as the Equality Act specifically only allows provision for all
women shortlists and not for shortlists other “protected characteristics”.
The Sex Discrimination Act 2002 (Election Candidates) Act passed by a Labour Government
allowed political parties to draw up all-women shortlists for elections to the House of
Commons, the European Parliament, Scottish Parliament, National Assembly of Wales and
most local elections. The Act included a “sunset clause” which would have expired at the
end of 2015 but was extended by the Equality Act 2010, again by a Labour Government until
2030. All Women Shortlists have been the most effective method to increase the number of
women elected into the bodies where they have been used.
There was a significant improvement in the number of women Labour MP’s with 118
elected in the 2017 General Election. Women now comprise over 45% of the PLP. We also
have gender balance in the Shadow Cabinet. There is still some way to go but this would not
have happened without All Women Shortlists. These must continue to be used. Even once
we have more than 50% women in the PLP the concern will be that there will be slippage if
this positive action measure were to stop. More than 60% of the candidates selected by
Labour in Parliamentary Selection since the 2017 General Election have been women many
of those selected by All Women Shortlist.
Labour has had gender balance in the Scottish Parliament since its creation with the policy
of “pairing” of seats, and has had women Leaders of the Scottish Labour Party drawn from
this “pool” of woman MSP’s. This also gender balance in the National Assembly of Wales
and in the London Assembly the Labour Group.
In local government there has improvement in recent years and Labour now has 2,522
woman councillors and 3,679 male councillors. However, despite the policy of having no
male only wards the improvement has not been as dramatic as other areas. We have been
shown the list of councils which have continued with all male wards in some places and are
concerned that some of these authorities are the same places where women have told us
they have been excluded from the panel to be considered as a local authority candidate. We
believe that the measures recommended elsewhere in this Report will address this issue.
Labour has, and has had, some very strong and effective women Council Leaders. However,
we now have 217 male Labour Group leaders and only 57 women which means that just
over one fifth of Labour Council Leaders are women.

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None of the six Metro Mayors are women. According to research by the Fabian Society only
12% of Cabinet members in the devolved administrations are women. It can be no co-
incidence that it is the areas where no quotas or positive action have been implemented,
largely because it would not be lawful to do so, there are less women.
Our members are clear that Labour must therefore call urgently for the legislation required
to have shortlists for protected groups such as BAME, disabled people and LGBT+. All the
evidence is that positive action is the most effective way of increasing the representation of
under-represented groups.
In the meantime, we need to do what we can to improve the number of working class
candidates from all under-represented groups.
We have many role models who should be asked to assist in mentoring, allowing their work
to be shadowed and by leading at training, political education and Leadership courses.
We know that when women are encouraged to come forward as candidates they do. We
have many anecdotal accounts of women saying that they would not have stood if there
had not been an All-Woman Shortlist or that at least one seat in a multi-member ward had
to be a woman. The recent Lewisham East by-election shows that a public call by the
Labour Party to encourage BAME women to come forward did lead to BAME women indeed
doing that.
Therefore, it is quite appropriate for Labour to make it clear that we are looking for women
candidates for any Metro Mayor or other Mayoral Selections and to publicly campaign
amongst women members to put themselves forward. Events should be arranged now in
areas where we know that there will be Selections to encourage women to consider
whether they are a potential candidate, give training and explain the process. There are
considerable costs in standing to be selected and this will be a factor for many women.
We know that Muslim women face considerable pressure not to get involved in politics.
During the Review Muslim women have spoken to us about the threats and intimidation
they have experienced. The Party needs to look at what specific support we can give to
women facing these unacceptable pressures.
We need a concerted attempt to get more black Leaders in Local Government.
We need to improve the pipeline of women, BAME, disabled and other under-represented
candidates particularly from communities where we have fewer representatives such as the
Chinese and east Asian community and amongst black African and Afro- Caribbean men. The
Bernie Grant Initiative which is currently being developed is an opportunity to encourage
many of these groups to come forward.
The continuation of all male wards must come to an end until we have achieved gender
parity in representation.
We recommend that we should -

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Build on the Jo Cox Programme and the Bernie Grant Initiative with similar Leadership
courses targeted at LGBT+ and disabled members
Coordinate and develop more mentoring, shadowing, political education and training for
working class candidates, women, BAME, disabled people, LGBT+ and other under-
represented groups
Ask LGCs to undertake work to develop pool of potential candidates to maximise choice to
members
Adopt a requirement that at least 50% of Cabinet and Committee Chair posts to be held by
women
Campaign to permit all women Shortlists for Metro Mayors
Campaign now within the Party to encourage women to consider putting themselves
forward for Metro Mayor Selections
Work with the Women’s PLP, LGA Labour Group, ALC and others to develop more support
for women who already hold elected office
Compile the evidence to justify positive action in favour of under-represented groups both
within the Party and as candidates

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