Women win poll place

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LABOUR divisions over numbers of women in the Shadow Cabinet were finally resolved yesterday as MPs backed by more than two to one a scheme to increase their representation, writes Patricia Wynn Davies.

The vote, 98 to 58, at the weekly meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party will increase from three to four the number of women that MPs will have to cast votes for in annual Shadow Cabinet elections. The vote ends the row that followed the initial approval of the rule change a month ago, then its rejection a week later. John Smith, the party leader, insisted the issue was reconsidered in a separate vote after MPs threw out an entire PLP review report containing the change and other reforms of Westminster practices.

Jean Corston and Helen Jackson, joint chairs of the PLP women's group, said later that Labour was now 'leading the way in policies that are relevant to women and families'.