Cardiff South and Penarth: Tomorrow is a chance for change

13 Jul

Tomorrow morning Labour Party members in Cardiff South and Penarth will be given the opportunity to select their candidate to fight the forthcoming by election.

Labour Party members not only have a very real chance to choose who will become the next Welsh MP but, more significantly, a chance to challenge the cultural status quo and to choose change.

We should not shy away from saying that the status quo when it comes to the level of women MPs in Wales is nowhere near good enough.Wales is a country that prides itself on a deep rooted commitment to social justice and fairness yet we have only had thirteen women MPs – ever.

Welsh Labour is the party of equality but when it comes to equality of representation in the House of Commons – and I’m sure many would hold their hands up and agree – we can not claim to yet be walking the talk.

Yes we’ve led the way on All Women Shortlists and the use of twinning to ensure that we once had parity in the National Assembly of Wales, the first such institution to reach such heights. We should be rightly proud that Labour is the only party that has taken concrete measures to elect more women MPs in Wales but now there exists a real risk of rolling back that progress.

Out of the current 40 MPs in Wales just seven are women. If the controversial boundary changes go ahead this could go down to four out of 30. Seven out of the 13 women ever elected in Wales were selected from All Women Shortlists. Women in Wales do not have a problem getting elected they encounter problems getting selected.

Tomorrow’s selection is an opportunity for us to challenge and change this –  perhaps it is time to step up to this challenge and choose change?

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