Please see below for NEC candidate Kev Peel's response to our letter on AWS
I am a strong supporter of all women shortlists and would fight any attempts to remove them from our selection process.
I am however concerned at the lack of women coming forward for these selections - in one key target seat in the North West only four women applied - and the lack of women applying for open shortlists.
In addition to supporting the continuation of AWS as a means to secure gender parity in the PLP I will also (if elected):
- Meet with LWN urgently to seek your views on what more can be done to encourage women to join and stand for election.
- Push the party to look at our recruitment strategy to see what we can do to encourage more women to join.
- Ask that we look again at the way local parties are organised, which can be inflexible particularly to the needs of those with families.
- Call for a review of local government policies around, for example, childcare provision for councillors.
- Ask that the party provide funding for an annual training / mentoring scheme for women who want to stand for local council. We have a problem at the local level too and this can also be a helpful springboard to higher office.
- Call for more transparency in the way seats are decided as AWS or open. The perception of back room deals unhelpfully fosters significant resentment among many party members about AWS, some of which is focused on how decisions are made rather than the decision itself. We need parity and I agree that half of our retiring and key seats should be AWS, but we don't help ourselves with the current process of picking which.