5 May 2017

UK Conservatives Forcing Female Candidates Onto CPs

By Mike Buchanan: There have been persistent rumours that Theresa May is keen to increase the number of female Tory MPs, an assault on meritocracy which would have been unthinkable during Margaret Thatcher’s term as prime minister.
The proportion of Tory MPs who are women already considerably exceeds the proportion of prospective parliamentary candidates (PPCs) who are women. Ms May’s demand for more Tory female MPs is being implemented by Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ), where I worked as a consultant over 2006-8.
A year or two ago Caroline Spelman MP, Conservative party chairman in 2007, admitted during a BBC Radio 4 interview that during her term as chairman, men had outnumbered women as PPC applicants by a ratio of 10:1 – then cynically proceeded to tell her interviewer that the party ‘needed’ more female MPs.
I resigned my party membership in 2009 when David Cameron announced his intention to introduce all-women PPC shortlists for the approaching general election, and set to work on my first feminism-related book, David and Goliatha.
The front cover featured a drawing I commissioned from Martin Honeysett, the legendary English cartoonist and illustrator, who I chose because of his talent at depicting grotesque women – Hattie  Harperson was ‘Goliatha’

Extracts from an article on p.8 of today’s Times:

Conservative activists have hit out over the party’s attempts to block local hopefuls and impose candidates in a number of winnable seats in Wales and the Midlands.
The party has forced local associations in four Welsh seats to accept female candidates without letting members in the constituency make a choice…
Yesterday, the Conservatives confirmed that their candidate in Bridgend would be Karen Robson, who previously stood for the party in Cardiff…
Female candidates have also been imposed in other Welsh target seats including Newport West, when Angela Jones-Evans [possessor of the most Welsh surname in history?] will run for election…
Tory activists in the constituency of Alyn & Deeside were forced to accept Laura Knightly, who fought the seat at the last election, as their candidate this time round…
Natasha Ashgar will contest Newport East for the Conservatives, having lost the seat by more than 4,700 votes in 2015…
Several members in Wales said they believed the interventions were part of an effort to ensure the Tories secure their first-ever female MP in Wales. [Clearly a more important objective than appointing the best candidates.]
Mrs Thatcher would have been appalled by such a feminist social engineering exercise.


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