This is Johanna Baxter’s response to the questions put to NEC 2012 Candidates by LWN and Lead4Women.
As a candidate to the NEC we hope you’ll find time to answer the following questions so we can share your answers with our members and supporters:
Will you ensure that more Labour women are elected to parliament,
including requiring that a minimum of 50% of Labour’s parliamentary
by-election candidates should be women?
Absolutely. But I think we need to be honest and say that this isn’t
enough. We should be striving for at least 50% representation throughout
our party. That means involving more women at every level. I have visited
73 CLPs in the last 16 months and it is very clear that we just don’t have
this at the moment. In almost 90% of those CLPs I visited the CLP Chair was
a man and the CLP Secretary was a woman. What does that say about our
party? For too long too many local constituency parties have had Women’s
Officer positions that have been unfilled. Now, due to a genuine oversight
in Refounding Labour, even those positions are now ‘optional’. I will work
to make sure that this error is corrected, the positions are reinstated as
full officer positions and I will work with local parties to ensure that
women are developed at every level.
Will you commit to supporting the continued use of all women
shortlists and to their application in seats with a strong Labour majority
as well as Labour’s target seats?
Yes. The case for all women shortlists is as strong now as it was when they
were introduced. It is a sad fact that in every open selection in all the
early selecting constituencies a man has been selected – the only way women
have been selected in those early selecting constituencies is through the
use of all women shortlists.
What will you do to ensure equal and transparent application of AWS
policy across the regions, including in Scotland and Wales?
I think All Woman Shortlists have had a bad press in some areas because
local constituency parties have had the feeling that this is something that
is done to, rather than with, them. We absolutely need to ensure that there
is clear, publically available, criteria against which a judgement is made
about whether an AWS is appropriate.
Would you support the formulation and publication of clear criteria
for the application of AWS policy and what would your favoured criteria be?
Yes, I advocated this at our recent meeting of the NEC Organisation
Sub-committee. I think this is crucial to ensure there is consistency in
deciding AWS seats and members having confidence that AWS is used solely as
a mechanism to ensure more women are selected rather than as means to ‘fix’
seats in any way. In terms of the criteria we need to ensure a range of
factors are taken into consideration including -
- the views of members
- the demographic profile of the local
- the electoral profile of the constituency
- whether an AWS has been used previously
- the balance of AWS seats within the region
What will you do to ensure we have a 50:50 PLP and 50:50 Labour
administration in Scotland, Wales, London and local government?
We will only achieve 50:50 representation in our administrations by ensuring
that our party leads the way and is truly representative at all levels. We
need to address the reasons women don’t come forward for selection and or
are not active in our party and we need to ‘do’ politics in a way that is
welcoming to women in our communities that haven’t previously been involved.
What will you do to ensure that the proportion of women in the PLP
does not decrease as a result of boundary changes?
The boundary proposals create massive difficulties for the party, as was the
obvious intention. We need to ensure that our incumbent women MPs are
supported and we need to work with CLPs of the newly created constituencies
to ensure that there we field a fair balance of candidates in those new
seats. We have, as an NEC, been taking the changes to local constituencies
into account when deciding to proceed in selecting in seats early to try and
ensure there is both a balance regionally and that we don’t impact any seats
whose boundaries will be dramatically altered through those changes.
Will you support our Refounding Labour proposals for changing the
party, including implementing a proper complaints process and building a
fully funded and organised Women’s organisation in the Labour Party?
Yes. I am proud that I advocated many of the reforms contained in
Refounding Labour as my own submission
ng-lab-cons-240611.pdf> demonstrates, many of which overlapped with your