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EDITIONS
Thursday, 18 July, 2002, 12:08 GMT 13:08 UK
Labour opts out of all-women lists
Westminster
There will be fewer Scottish MPs at Westminster
Moves to increase the number of female MPs have been shelved by the Labour Party in Scotland.

The party has backed the creation of some all-women short-lists for the next Westminster elections.

However, the reduction in the number of seats in Scotland has seen the party rule out such a move north of the border.


Click here for a detailed map of the new seats

The move follows concerns that some sitting MPs in Scotland - most of whom are male - could lose out.

Boundary Commission proposals would cut the number of Scottish MPs from 72 to 59 at the next general election.

Labour is expected to be hit hardest by the move as the party holds 56 of the seats north of the border - including 10 of the 13 expected to disappear.

The party currently has 10 female MPs in Scotland.

Labour's UK National Executive has already agreed to introduce all-women selection shortlists in 50% of the seats where one of its MPs is retiring at the next election.

However, the party has agreed to exempt Scotland from that rule.


All-woman shortlists have not been ruled out in Scotland and there may be situations where they could be considered

Labour spokeswoman
A spokeswoman said: "The Scottish party has been allowed to follow separate procedures from the general rule laid down by the National Executive.

"It had to happen because so many people's seats are being reshaped in the boundary changes.

"These are massive changes to be dealt with in one election, but all-woman shortlists have not been ruled out in Scotland and there may be situations where they could be considered."

The spokeswoman added that Labour was "making strides" over female representation n the Scottish Parliament.

"We couldn't be accused of not encouraging women into politics," she added.

"Labour's record in Scotland is still vastly better than the majority of other parties, with the Lib Dems and the Tories not returning any women to Westminster and not having any positive action policies in place to encourage women into parliament."

See also:

14 Feb 02 | Scotland
07 Feb 02 | Scotland
06 Feb 02 | Scotland
02 Feb 02 | Politics
21 Dec 01 | Politics
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