Although fifty to sixty Tory MPs are likely to be women in the event of a General Election victory, 85% of the last six months of selections have been of men. More significantly, Saturday's adoption of another man - Hexham choosing Guy Opperman - follows a succession of other male adoptions in Tory-held or top target seats: Fylde choosing Mark Menzies, Nuneaton adopting Marcus Jones, Bournemouth West adopting Conor Burns, Perth and North Perthshire adopting Peter Lyburn, Halesowen and Rowley Regis adopting James Morris, Rochester and Strood re-adopting Mark Reckless, Westmorland & Lonsdale adopting Gareth McKeever.
The last woman to be selected in a top seat was Rebecca Harris for Castle Point at the start of July - a few days after James Brokenshire won the race for Old Bexley & Sidcup.
The Candidates' Department had hoped that intensive lobbying of Association Chairmen and compulsory shortlisting of women would have produced greater change. The Dept is reportedly disappointed because they do not believe that further/ tougher pro-women measures would be acceptable to Associations.