This is Kate Osamor’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?
I will contribute to this ongoing process. Starting wit working at local level identifying hardworking enthusiastic activist, presently this is a lost opportunity and needs to be better capitalised. Supporting and directed those same women into winnable seats. CLP and council have a culture of male domination. I agree with LWN on investing in supporting and developing our membership, every regional and national office should employ a staff member responsible for membership development. By elections tend not to follow any rule of selection this needs to be looked at, worrying to think that women are being excluded from any paid work especially in politics.
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?
I would commit to supporting the continued use of AWS and to their application in seats with a strong Labour majority as well as Labour’s target seats. The current system is still not fully working and this is for many reasons. Local misunderstanding of the need for AWS is one such reason. Many male dominated constituencies block the process. However AWS must not be imposed from the NEC this has to be a collaborative process that comes from improved channels of communication but not an imposition .
What will you do to ensure equal and transparent application of AWS policy across the regions, including in Scotland and Wales?
I don’t think it can be equal and transparent application of AWS across regions. For example East of England & Yorkshire have an unequal share of Labour MPs. As it stands Wales and Scotland will loose seat. In previous boundary reorganisation Scotland was badly hit. What I would ensure is that all the expected changes/threats are transparent, published, and open to party discussion, including regional input.
Would you support the formulation and publication of clear criteria for the application of AWS policy and what would your favoured criteria be?
In principle yes I would support. But the criteria needs to be dissemination to local members for regional input. This will help to dispel suspicion & non committal in not supporting the AWS. On criteria ,AWS should be used on all winnable seats. All regions should be monitored. Race needs to be addressed, BAME women need to be selected, especially for constituencies with over 50% BAME representation.
What will you do to ensure we have a 50:50 PLP and 50:50 Labour administration in Scotland, Wales, London and local government?
Scotland and Wales- there is still a lot of work to be done,. London has made better gains. This needs to be rolled our to all regions.
I agree that with lead4Women’s that out of the 39 people who have served as leader or deputy of our Party – only two – Margaret Beckett and Harriet Harman – have been women. There needs to be a change in the rules.
Local Government – more women need to to selected and encouraged to put them self forward. In Tottenham my CLP the Women Forum is working on a programme to support more women into position of leadership. This will include interview techniques and shadowing existing female councillor. Political life for most women means juggling many hats this also needs to be considered when analysing 50:50 PLP in labour administration.
2012 GLA elections- more women were selected for the constituency seats. Female Labour candidates were selected for were unwinnable seats, noticeable in the pack was Mandy Richards who came within just 4,000 votes on a massive 13.3% increase in the Labour vote. All candidates worked tirelessly for seats that they had no prospect of winning this I feel can only be demoralising.
PCC elections and directly elected mayors – Very few women candidates applied. So to that end men will fill these positions.
What will you do to ensure that the proportion of women in the PLP does not decrease as a result of boundary changes?
This raises many concerns for existing labour seat and any future seat. Firstly because The party can not afford to loose any seat regardless if the sitting MP is male of female.. But in answer to your question, I would encourage that the NEC would look at the potential damage to a decrease in seat. BAME women would be also be hard hit. There has to be a vigorous attempt to restore gender and race balance at the following election.
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?
I will fully support LWN Refounding labour proposal . Complaints procedures at present is way below satisfactory. Equalities aspects of Refounding Labour should include constituency representation. Intersectionality of gender & race needs to be worked on. I would the support this being reviewed.
The funding and organisation of women forum needs to better organised. The annual women’s conference is a start. But until the AWC is pushing for a formal delegate election via individual CLP or through other means directly linked to the main conference it can lead other parts of the organisation to think that they don’t need to improve. To improve women’s influence and engagement Refounding Labour’s general support has been some what flexible . My local CLP Tottenham and neighbouring CLP Hornsey and Wood Green Women’s forum work closely but not all CLP have the capacity. I understand that the new annual constituency development plan should include a requirement to explain how this is being promoted.