More than half of Labour’s general election candidates are women, provisional figures reveal.
Jeremy Corbyn is fielding 333 female candidates, accounting for 53% of everyone standing for the party, with the closest competitor – in terms of percentage and overall numbers – the Greens, who are putting forward 204 (41%).
The Conservatives are putting forward 190 women, making up 30%, while Jo Swinson’s Liberal Democrats can boast 1% higher female representation – with 188 accounting for 31% of their hopeful MPs.
Labour’s 53% represents a 12-point increase from their representation in the previous snap general election. It is thought the figure represents a new record for a major British political party in a general election.
The Scottish National Party fielded 20 female candidates in 2017 – and are fielding the same number, representing 34%, in 2019.
The Brexit Party’s has 54 women standing for MP – accounting for 20%.
Labour is fielding 333 female candidates, accounting for 53% of everyone standing for the party, with the closest competitor – in terms of percentage and overall numbers – the Greens, who are putting forward 204 (41%)
Jeremy Corbyn is fielding 333 female candidates, accounting for 53% of everyone standing for the party
Number of female candidates standing by party, compared with 2017 general election
Conservative: 190 ( 183)
Labour: 333 ( 255)
Liberal Democrats: 188 ( 184)
Plaid Cymru: 9 ( 11)
SNP: 20 ( 20)
Brexit Party: 54
Green: 204 ( 165)
UKIP: 10 ( 50)
DUP: 2 ( 2)
UUP: 1 ( 2)
SDLP: 8 ( 6)
Sinn Fein: 4 ( 7)
Alliance: 9 ( 9)
The revelation comes as Labour’s shadow home secretary admitted the party will ‘extend’ freedom of movement rights if it wins the election today as a furious civil war broke out over its immigration policy.
Diane Abbott made the admission on Twitter after a trade union kingpin had warned that such a plan could cost it seats in its working class heartlands.
Another shadow minister had earlier refused to say whether Labour would keep or scrap freedom of movement if it took power.
Laura Pidcock, seen as a potential future party leader, branded immigration targets ‘arbitrary’ and said concerns were a ‘false flag’ – a deliberate attempt to deceive people.
Unite leader Len McCluskey, a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn, had earlier said the party’s official policy of keeping open borders was ‘not a sensible approach’.
Ms Abbott hit back this afternoon, saying: ‘The Labour Party is committed to maintaining and extending Freedom of Movement rights.
‘But the Tories will remove those rights from the EU three million. We will maintain them.
‘The Tories break up families by barring spouses of British citizens, via an income requirement.
Boris Johnson’s Conservatives are putting forward 190 women, making up 30% of their numbers
Ms Abbott, right, waded into a row this afternoon, saying: ‘The Labour Party is committed to maintaining and extending Freedom of Movement rights’. Len McCluskey, left, a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn, said the party’s official policy of keeping open borders was ‘not a sensible approach’
‘Labour will scrap it, and extend Freedom of Movement rights to all those legally entitled to be here, including our own citizens among others.’
Labour’s annual conference in September voted to adopt a new policy to ‘maintain and extend free movement’.
Priti Patel vows the Conservatives will reduce ‘immigration overall’ with a points-based system
Home Secretary Priti Patel has vowed the Tories will ‘reduce immigration’ and warned numbers would ‘surge’ if Jeremy Corbyn became PM.
The Conservatives said analysis of new research into Labour’s proposals for open borders suggests net migration ‘could increase to 840,000 per year.’
They said the analysis, described as ‘fake news’ by Labour, was based on official figures and the Government’s own methodology.
But Labour branded it the latest from the Tory Party‘s ‘make-believe research department’.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: ‘Under Corbyn’s Labour, immigration would surge and put huge strain on schools and our NHS.
‘Jeremy Corbyn has no credible plan for how to deal with the consequences of his open borders policy.
‘The biggest risk to our NHS is Corbyn’s plans for uncontrolled and unlimited immigration, forever.’
At the time, the architects of the policy said the idea was to extend free movement ‘beyond the EU’.
Ms Pidcock told Radio 4’s Today programme this morning: ‘I think it’s a false flag, this issue of immigration.’
She then accused the media of ‘mischaracterising’ Mr McCluskey, adding: ‘He is the leader of the trade union that I am a member of, he talked very clearly about there not being an environment where national terms and conditions can be undermined by exploitative bosses.’
Pushed again on whether she was in favour of extended free movement rights, as was voted for at the Labour Party’s conference, Ms Pidcock added: ‘I am in favour of making sure there are conditions where no worker, whether they be British or a foreign worker are exploited in this country, because that is the real issue.’
She added: ‘The issue is not about migrant labour, the issue is about what kind of legislative environment we have for workers, and we will create one where all workers are protected.’
The confusion came ahead of a crunch meeting of party chiefs this weekend to finalise the election manifesto.
Activists at Labour conference voted this autumn to make its formal position to ‘maintain and extend free movement rights’.
But Mr Corbyn has repeatedly refused to say whether he will try to restrict free movement from the EU as part of another renegotiation with Brussels if he wins power.
Mr McCluskey used an interview with the Guardian to warn that extending free movement could cost the party support in critical marginal seats in the Midlands and the North which voted heavily to leave the EU.
He said: ‘I don’t think what conference voted for is a sensible approach and I will be expressing that view.
‘It’s wrong in my view to have any greater free movement of labour unless you get stricter labour market regulation.’
Laura Pidcock, seen as a future party leadership candidate, branded immigration targets ‘arbitrary’ and said foreign labour did not undercut wages
Mr McCluskey told the paper that controlling immigration was a key reason many people voted for Brexit, adding: ‘Too many of those who live in metropolitan political and media circles don’t really grasp why people voted the way they did.’
Pressed on Mr McCluskey’s comments this morning, Ms Pidock said their focus was on tackling ‘exploitative’ employers rather than blaming migrants for undercutting the wages of local workers.
‘We know actually that migrant labour does not undercut wages, it is exploitative bosses that seek to undermine national agreements – that’s our emphasis,’ she said.
‘It isn’t right that we place the blame on numbers of immigrants for wages. Actually those employers that seek to undermine those national agreements are to blame for the exploitation.’