Letter: A woman's place in the Labour Party

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The Independent Online
Sir: My attention has been drawn to the article on 20 June on the voting intentions of women Labour MPs in the forthcoming deputy leadership election. The piece included photographs of Clare Short, Ann Clwyd and myself alongside the headline 'Labour women decline to fall in behind Beckett'. This gave a very misleading impression to anyone who saw the headline but did not read the entire article - a view confirmed by the number of folk who have approached me since the article appeared, to ask me whether I have changed camps.

I would be grateful therefore if you would allow me to correct the mistaken impression the headline gave. Two of the three women mentioned are backing Margaret Beckett. I am firmly of the view that she is the best candidate for the job, because of her proven political and communication skills, her experience at working at all levels of the party, and her effective team work.

Moreover, it is high time the Labour Party valued the distinctive contribution made by women to our political life. What better way to signal this than to seize this historic opportunity and elect a woman to the leadership team.

Yours faithfully,


MP for Durham North-West


House of Commons

London, SW1

26 June