Two women MPs standing down today as a result of the MPs expenses scandal provides a timely reminder to us activists that it could mean even fewer women MPs in the next Parliament.
Labour has by far and away the best record of the mainstream political parties on seeking to get more women elected to the House of Commons. (Footnote to 50+% of the electorate - which party is on your side?). There have recently been some very difficult to explain decisions on the part of the National Executive Committee's Organisation sub-committee allowing open selections in winnable seats, rather than insisting on all-women shortlists. (The Tory MP Julie Kirkbride's case threw up some questions about childcare and MPs expenses, which shouldn't be lost sight of either.)
But my main concern and that of my colleagues in Save the Labour Party is that of the perception that favoured candidates able to lavish unlimited expenses to win votes can be parachuted into winnable seats by a party machine. This did not prove to be the case in Erith and Thamesmead, but the reputational damage to Labour was done by weeks of media speculation some unfounded about the candidacy of Georgia Gould, in particular.
Should the Party stagger on relying on its present rules faced with the possibility, if GMB general secretary, Paul Kenny's estimate of another 50 MPs standing down? Or is it time for an urgent review? I'd like to hear you views.