Green Party members denied chance to stand as joint MPs to challenge 'job-share' ban

Sarah Cope and Clare Phipps were unable to stand on a job-share basis

Kunal Dutta
Monday 27 July 2015 21:19
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Two Green party members who had their nomination papers for the general election returned after attempting to stand for MP on a job-share basis will challenge electoral regulations in court today.

Sarah Cope and Clare Phipps believed they could have better represented Basingstoke by combining their efforts, and their application was supported by their party. But the returning officer for the constituency rejected their joint nomination papers.The pair are seeking permission in the High Court to bring a judicial review and overturn that decision.

Lawyers are expected to argue that preventing two women from working jointly as an MP amounts to a disproportionate and unjustifiable interference with both the Human Rights Act and the Equality Act.

Ms Cope, 36, is the main carer for two young children and has developed many of the Greens’ policies, including those on maternity, in her role as chair of Green Party Women.

Ms Phipps, 26, job shares a position on the party executive. Since 2009 she has suffered from a disability known as idiopathic hypersomnia, a sleep disorder.

She said: “The concept of job shares has been accepted for some time now, and in a wide array of fields – from doctors, to teachers, to judges. So it is a sad indictment that to get this basic right for MPs, we are forced to take our case to court.”

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