Labour petitioners seek to overturn vote on women

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Indy Politics
A LABOUR row over the dumping of party proposals to overhaul working practices at Westminster and help increase the number of women in the Shadow Cabinet intensified yesterday with the launching of a petition - to be circulated only among men - to get the decision reversed, writes Patricia Wynn Davies.

A slim majority of MPs voted on Wednesday to throw out the entire second report of the Parliamentary Labour Party's review group. Along with it went the previous week's decision to increase from three to four the number of women candidates MPs would have to cast votes for in annual Shadow Cabinet elections.

The report contained several recommendations about practices and procedures that would have made working at Westminster more tolerable for Labour MPs with children. Its rejection by 50 votes to 43 left many women MPs angry at male diehards and provoked a row in Wednesday night's Shadow Cabinet meeting.

Yesterday's petition to Doug Hoyle, PLP chairman, and John Smith, the party leader, demands that MPs should be given a chance to vote on each reform individually, so that those disagreeing with certain sections could register their disagreement without rejecting the entire report.

The petition states: 'The vote in the PLP has had the effect of reversing reforms agreed the previous week, and indeed many members of the PLP were not present to participate in the vote.'