Women could make up half of new Shadow Cabinet
Women are set to make up almost half of Ed Miliband's top team after he privately urged MPs to elect large numbers of female candidates to his Shadow Cabinet.
New Labour rules guarantee that a minimum of six of the 19 elected places will go to women in next week's contest. But they could gain as many as eight or nine positions following the new Labour leader's intervention.
With places reserved for Harriet Harman, the deputy leader, and Baroness Royall, Labour's leader in the Lords, 10 or 11 of Mr Miliband's Shadow Cabinet colleagues could be female.
A senior MP disclosed: "The word has gone out that Ed wants half the Shadow Cabinet to be women." Mr Miliband was sympathetic during the leadership election campaign to calls for equal numbers of men and women on the front benches. And in yesterday's conference speech he praised the last government for "challenging the idea of a male-dominated parliament" by creating all-female shortlists for Westminster seats.
By the time nominations close this afternoon, more than 50 of Labour's 257 MPs are expected to have put their names forward. Diane Abbott yesterday became the 15th woman to declare her candidacy, alongside the likes of Yvette Cooper, Caroline Flint and Tessa Jowell.
Ms Abbott, the first black woman MP, who was a surprise contender in the leadership battle, said she had been urged to stand by activists from all wings of the party. "There is a really strong feeling in the party, in the country, that they want to see diversity at the top of Labour," she told The Independent. "By supporting me they will be supporting a strong performer in the Commons and an effective media performer."
The influx of so many women into the Shadow Cabinet means that some established male politicians could fail to make the cut. Forty men – including nearly 30 ex-ministers – could be vying for just 10 or 11 places. Senior figures such as Ed Balls, Andy Burnham, Alan Johnson and Hilary Benn are certain to be elected – as David Miliband would be if he decides to stand.
- 3 Russian girl takes her own life after parents find pornography on her computer
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Kim Kardashian on Bruce Jenner's 'story': 'We support him no matter what, and I think when the time is right, he'll talk'
Russian girl takes her own life after parents find pornography on her computer
Ball pool for adults opens in London
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...
£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...
£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...