This is Luke Akehurst’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:
I am a long-standing and vocal supporter of AWS and set out my
position here: http://labourlist.org/2012/03/in-defence-of-all-women-shortlists/
including requiring that a minimum of 50% of Labour’s parliamentary
by-election candidates should be women?
Yes to the general point, as set out in my article. On by-elections it
is difficult to enforce a target as you never know how many there will
be until they happen, but I like the idea of the target being there in
principle to guide NEC by-election shortlisting panels over the
lifetime of a parliament, whilst leaving them some flexibility to deal
with difficult local political scenarios.
shortlists and to their application in seats with a strong Labour
majority as well as Labour’s target seats?
Yes, once we get past the current cycle which is idiosyncratic in that
Labour held seats are Open this time to allow for male MPs whose seats
disappear in the boundary changes to find a new seat. In all “normal”
cycles AWS should be applied in the same proportion in safe seats as
policy across the regions, including in Scotland and Wales?
This is an area of great concern to me and on the Organisation
Committee we closely monitor the regional patterns in selections. The
areas with the worst record of selecting women should not be given
different treatment – all regions should have an equal proportion of
for the application of AWS policy and what would your favoured
Yes. As set out in my blog post, if it was a “normal” round of
selections without these huge boundary changes, I think that the Party
should ensure a national level of 50% AWS in vacant Labour seats (and
winnable target seats) and aim for a level of 50% AWS in each
individual region where this doesn’t affect the national total. The
immediate way to allocate which seats go AWS should be to ask for CLPs
to volunteer, and then where there are more to be found I would do
this by random lottery in each region (like the FA Cup draw!) rather
than invent obscure sub-regional justifications which are often cover
for political decisions to help or hinder a favoured candidate.
administration in Scotland, Wales, London and local government?
As set out in my blog post I support the application of 50:50 AWS at
all levels, not just Westminster.
does not decrease as a result of boundary changes?
The NEC has already set its policy for the coming round of selections.
If we don’t gain seats then there is a theoretical possibility the %
of women in the PLP may go down, but the application of AWS in target
seats and our current poll lead suggest in fact the % will go up.
party, including implementing a proper complaints process and building
a fully funded and organised Women’s organisation in the Labour Party?