This is Peter Wheeler’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 our questions so we can share your answers with our members and supporters:
The important thing for me is that the party needs to be more representative of our supporters and potential supporters-in terms of gender, class, ethnicty and sexuality. That obviously means we need to continue to support positive action to achieve this including, but not confined to, All Women Shortlists. We need to ensure such steps are taken in all parts of the UK and in safe seats as well as other seats.
The process at the moment is very confused and I have argued for clear and transparent criteria, outlined in advance rather than the current ad hoc basis. The proposed boundary changes raise the possibility of doing this and I favour a form of “zipping” whereby all seats are identified as AWS or open in the event of them coming vacant. I would be happy to discuss the details with you but I have to be honest that the idea found little support with colleagues on the NEC.
I don’t see how we can guarantee 50% of by-election candidates will be women due to the random way these vacancies occur. We do need to review the short-listing procedure for By-elections, which in the past have seen some very dubious decisions and I would agree with 50% of each short-list being female.
Local Government is a key area and I would support quotas for cabinets- indeed when I recently stood for selection for the Labour candidate for Mayor of Salford one of my main promises was that 50% of the cabinet would be women- that would have smashed the glass ceiling!
In terms of the boundary changes I have no easy answers- it will be a difficult process but the party has a duty to assist existing women MP’s.
I will be happy to discuss these issues with you or any of your supporters-just e-mail me on firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call on 07880 790182.