Labour to set quotas for women: Executive to vote on move that could ensure 80 female MPs after next election

LABOUR is set to back regional quotas of all-women shortlists of parliamentary candidates that could ensure 80 women MPs after the next election.

Under the scheme, to be voted on by the National Executive Committee when it meets today, constituency parties and seven regional offices would agree on the allocation to women of half the seats in three categories - winnable, including marginals, Labour-held and safe Tory.

The proposals have the support of John Smith, the Labour leader, and of many shadow ministers and MPs who are concerned that while there are only 37 women in the 270-strong Parliamentary party, only 20 to 30 Labour seats will become vacant through retirements or by-elections.

But while party sources were keen to emphasise a widespread will to see the scheme succeed, its reliance on consensus could prove contentious. If regions and constituencies are unable to agree quota seats, the executive committee will have power to impose a list.

The prospect of disagreement will play into the hands of male MPs who argue that such positive action infringes constituency Labour Party independence. The paper drawn up by Clare Short, the Labour MP who chairs the national executive's women's committee, contains no formal provision for an appeal against a committee ruling.

The proposals will have to be endorsed by the autumn conference, but conference agreed as long ago as 1990 on a target of 50-50 representation between men and women by 2000.

Under current rules a 'statutory' woman is already included on parliamentary shortlists. It has produced few women candidates to fight winnable seats and is the object of derision.

Labour badly needs to restore its equality credentials after last week's 50- 43 vote by the Parliamentary party to throw out the PLP review group's second report on modernising working practices at Westminster and increasing women in the Shadow Cabinet, dubbed the 'assisted places scheme' in some quarters. The review group was set to agree last night to press for each section of the report to be voted on separately after an angry Mr Smith called for it to be brought back piecemeal.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Service Advisor

£16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion and growth of ...

Recruitment Genius: Service Advisor

£16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion and growth of ...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Account Manager

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SEO Account Manager is requi...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders