Page last updated at 12:43 GMT, Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Women only for Labour shortlist

Tom Levitt MP
Tom Levitt has said he will stand down at the next General Election

A Labour party branch has voted for a women-only shortlist of candidates to replace a Derbyshire MP.

A request by High Peak Labour Party to ban men from the selection process has been put to the national party.

Tom Levitt has said he will stand down at the next General Election after 13 years representing the constituency.

He said the women-only shortlist showed the party was serious about equality, but Conservative candidate Andrew Bingham said the list was "biased".

'Easy decision'

Constituency chairman Alan Barrow said "At our meeting on Friday an overwhelming majority of member present favoured an all women shortlist.

"With several examples of high performing women locally, it was an easy decision to reach."

Mr Levitt said he wanted to stand down as MP for personal reasons and to spend more time with his family.

He said: "Having a woman candidate in place shows we are serious about equality and about change.

"There are a lot of good women candidates out there who quite frankly don't get a fair crack at the whip."

Mr Bingham said he was opposed to all-women shortlists.

He added: "The Labour candidate will be from a process that is biased.

"I think there should be open competition, open to all. I speak to women in politics and they feel the same."



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SEE ALSO
Labour row over women shortlists
27 Oct 09 |  Manchester
MP shortlists divide candidates
31 May 07 |  UK Politics

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