Page last updated at 19:06 GMT, Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Women-only shortlists for seats

The Labour Party has decided two constituencies in the East Midlands will be fought in the next general election from women-only shortlists.

Only female candidates will be allowed to stand for the party in the Sherwood and Leicester West constituencies.

The current MP sitting at the Sherwood seat, Paddy Tipping, is standing down from parliament.

Leicester West is currently held by former health secretary Patricia Hewitt.

Prospective Labour candidate Christine Shawcroft, who is hoping to stand in Sherwood, said: "The Labour Party decided to have a 40% target of women in parliament so as seats come up they have to have all women shortlists to hit that target.

"It's important to represent the whole of the population of the country properly, making sure women as well as men are represented."

Out of 44 MPs in the East Midlands just seven are women, these are all Labour MPs.

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