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James Hellyer

"James - I agree with everything you've said"

That's a first!

"but we can't ignore the ingrained discrimination that happens in selection panels."

Then amending the selection process should be the task, rather than rigging the list of candidates.

If you don't want all the candidates picked by panels of Colonel Blimps, say, widen the panels by introducing primaries or caucuses, or make panels conduct interviews against a set centrally set format (blind cvs, some standardised questions) and scorecard as is often business practice.


"3 out of 17 tory women MPs are prominent. By the same ratio we'd expect 32 prominent men from our 181 male MPs"

Yes Mark I understand your point and agree to a certain point, but don't you think that as there are only 17 of them that they'd stand out, rather like diamonds in the rough!

I'm getting really sad and do recognise and remember a lot of MP's and I could only name six women.

If you change nothing about the parliamentary system and the way that politics is conducted (the way policy is set, the way that laws are set up or debated) you end up with the same type of person (candidate) whether male or female, black or white, muslim or jewish. So I honestly think this debate is going nowhere fast and in part I agree with Rick if people can't stand the heat keep out of the kitchen.

As long as you do ensure you have a fair system of selection then those women who would choose to stand up to the line and prove themselves capable are able to be chosen then that is sufficient in my book.


Yes we need more female MPs, yes we need more ***, yes we need more *** etc. etc.


Discrimination is discrimination no matter who you discriminate against.

Sure encourage more women to stand, make sure selection is fair, and changes so that more flexiblity for women MPs that also want to spend time with family and children etc. Then select the best candidate. A better candidate make a better MP, not some selection rules base on sex or race.

Selsdon Man

"Witney shortlist was DC, Andrew Mitchell (MP Sutton Coldfield), and someone only described on the only reference I found to it as 'token female'."

That is no way to speak of Sharon Buckle!

Selsdon Man

Rees-Dogg is only trying to get his daughter a seat! His son screwed up in The Wrekin in 2001(won back in 2005).


a-tracy, the very minimum definition of "local" is to have lived full-time in the constituency before standing for election.

I doubt you would ever get elected a Congressman in the US if you parachuted in from DC - although it is truye Al Gore spent most of his life in DC.


Thank you for the final name for Witney Selsdon Man - I couldn't find it anywhere. As I mentioned, the only reference I found to the Witney shortlist didn't include Sharon Buckle by name, it only described her a token female. I suspect that is part of the problem we have.


For completeness then, Sharon Buckle was fourth on the Conservative list for the East Midlands at the European elections, and stood for Liverpool Walton this year.


How many times does one hear the women on selection comittees ask other women about who will look after their children/husband or express doubts about the capacity of a woman with kids to 'put in the time'? It never ceases to amaze me that women block other women so frequently.

It also astonishes me that candidates are still expected to turn up with their partners to selection meetings. Which other job requires you to bring your other half along for interviews?

There is a very long way to go until our selection procedures are truly non-discriminatory and I can't help but wonder whether a short period of all women short lists might not bring about the quantum leap we badly need.

facts not fiction

There is confused thinking on this thread.

Femail Candidate - whilst the candidiates who made it through to the FINAL in the seats you mention may have been all male this is because they were CHOSEN by the two previous selection stages. The SHORTLISTS ie origional set of candidates seen contained women in all cases, often put there at the suggestion of Morris et al at the expense of eg local councillors who might have otherwise done well.

It is important to understand the difference between imposing a short list which does not allow CHOICE, and a final composed of those selected on MERIT. It is the difference between central control and individual choice - ie a key conservative principal.

Mark Fulford

But who decides the merits and shortlists? James's Colonel Blimps, that's who!

Sean Fear

Most associations are not, in my experience, dominated by Colonel Blimps these days.

I've participated in a lot of selections at Council level, put myself forward for selection for the London Assembly, and attended the European hustings, and have generally found them conducted professionally.

Daniel Vince-Archer

"Rees-Dogg is only trying to get his daughter a seat! His son screwed up in The Wrekin in 2001(won back in 2005)."

Would his daughter be Annunziata Rees-Mogg who secured a whopping 3064 votes in Aberavon in 2005? (Admittedly an improvement on the 2296 votes the Conservative candidate secured in 2001.)

Sean Fear

3000 votes in Aberavon is not a bad achievement.


Thanks for this link Mark I only managed to get around to reading it today, very interesting.

Do you know what Twinning and Zipping means?

When I read that Ruth Kelly had four children I thought how the heck does she manage, especially representing a northern constituency, or did I read that she has a househusband?

I wouldn't choose a Westminster career over my family personally but I have a lot of sympathy for ambitious young women who want a fair crack of the whip.

On the other hand I don't agree with women wanting to be an MP part-time if they have children, it wouldn't be fair or responsible to their constituents - unless you could have job-share MP's, that would be a first I guess, both from the same constituency area splitting the job between them! Male/Female or two Females or even two males (half salary/half expenses each) Not exactly a front bench role criteria mind but there are plenty of ambitious full timers who I'm sure could fill the breach.

Just a little blue sky thinking. Now chaps don't all pounce at once.


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