28 Mar 2017

It’s Tme To Stop The Obsession With Quotas And All-Women Shortlists

By Philip Davies MP: If you were to believe the word of the few feminist extremists in the country (and a survey suggests only 1 in 7 women self-identifies as a feminist) women have very different political priorities to men. They believe more women in Parliament would ensure different issues were prioritised.
However, nothing could be further from the truth.
What is striking is that the issues that men and women are concerned about are remarkably similar.
Indeed I recently asked the House of Commons Library to break down the top five issues of concern for men and women. They did so using opinion poll results from Ipsos Mori which were published over the last year.
The top five issues for female voters in order are:  1) NHS 2) Immigration 3) Education 4) Economy 5) Housing
The top five issues for male voters in order are:  1) NHS 2) Immigration 3) Economy 4) Housing 5) Unemployment
This is not a new phenomenon. I also asked the same question for 2011.
The results back then for female voters were 1) Economy 2) NHS 3) Unemployment 4) Immigration 5) Crime.
For men in 2011 it was 1) Economy 2) Unemployment 3) Immigration 4) Defence 5) NHS.
In all the years I have been involved in politics, I have never come across a voter who said they would vote for me only if I happened to be a woman.
Nor have people ever said they would vote for or against me because I am a man.
People are not interested in the sex of the candidate at an election, they are only bothered about what they believe in and what they will do for them.
Given that men and women have very similar political priorities, this comes as no surprise. Given that left-wing feminists have nothing but contempt for Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May, even for them clearly the beliefs of politicians are more important than their sex.
So rather than being obsessed with quotas, all-women shortlists and gender proportions, isn’t it time that we just allowed the voters to vote for the best candidate irrespective of their sex?
Politics should always be about what people believe in, not whether they happen to be male or female. That should be as irrelevant to the chattering classes as it clearly is to the voters.
Of course, if I am wrong then presumably we will see left-wing feminists supporting a Conservative woman in an election against a Labour man.
And for those male MPs who are always saying we need more female MPs, why don’t they back the cause by giving up their seat in Parliament for a woman?
I will let you decide if either of those possibilities is likely to come to pass.

  • Philip Davies is MP for Shipley and a member of the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee

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