Labour is set to significantly boost its levels of female and BAME representation at the top of the party through key candidate selections, LabourList analysis has found.
Even if Labour does not secure a majority on December 12th, the party will have likely put more women and more BAME figures in the House of Commons through its most important selection contests.
In retirement seats, Labour has substantially increased the number of women standing for election from six to 14 and the number of BAME candidates has shot up from zero to seven.
In defection seats, where the incumbent has quit Labour to become an Independent or joined another party since the 2017 election, the number of women has doubled from five to ten.
Chuka Umunna and four Jewish ex-Labour MPs were among Labour defectors, and the current list of candidates in defection seats includes five newly picked BAME candidates in total.
Of those Labour MPs who were effectively deselected by Labour’s national executive committee – Chris Williamson, Stephen Hepburn and Roger Godsiff – all three were white men.
The parliamentary candidate selections for retirement, defection and deselection seats refer to constituencies won by Labour in 2017, and are therefore considered the most important for Labour in terms of reshaping the next parliamentary cohort.
The key selections discussed above have contributed to a “late diversity surge”, according to think tank director Sunder Katwala. Analysis by British Future has found that the 2019 intake of ethnic minority Labour MPs will likely range from 34 to 50, up from 32 in 2017.
Around 44 ethnic minority candidates in total are defending seats won by Labour in 2017, Josh Westerling and Sunder Katwala have found. Their research states: “12 of the 14 new ethnic minority candidates defending Labour seats begin the campaign as favourites to win.”
Welsh Labour has also noted today that the regional party is standing a record number for parliament at this general election, with more than 57% of its candidates – 23 out of 40 – being female.
New Labour Welsh candidates include teaching rep Belinda Loveluck-Edwards, social care organisation leader Mary Wimbury, anti-poverty campaigner Mary Roberts, councillor Alexandra Davies- Jones and ex-diplomatic service worker Philippa Thompson.
The 2019 general election will also see a record number of openly gay Welsh Labour candidates, the party has noted, with 13% of Welsh Labour candidates identifying as members of LGBT+ community.