“Tribute” to Starmer that women hold many top party positions, Nandy says

Katie Neame

Lisa Nandy has said it is a “tribute” to Keir Starmer that the Labour leader has put women into many of the top positions within the party following Liz Truss’s election as the UK’s third female Prime Minister.

Asked in an interview with Sky News today when Labour will elect its first female leader, the Shadow Levelling Up Secretary said: “If you cast your mind back to 2019, which feels a very long time ago, I did try to do something about that but sadly was not successful.”

Nandy declared: “I’ve always said I think it’s important for Labour that we can show diversity across our party, and at some stage after Keir Starmer’s been Prime Minister, I would love to see us have a woman leader and a woman Prime Minister.

“But I do think it’s a tribute to him that he’s put women into many of those top positions and most prominent positions in the Labour Party.

“I would trust Angela Rayner and Rachel Reeves and many others sitting around that shadow cabinet table a million times to solve this crisis in a way that, quite frankly, I just can’t see Liz Truss being able to do.”

It was announced this afternoon that Truss had been selected by the Tory Party membership to be the party’s next leader over rival Rishi Sunak. The current Foreign Secretary secured 81,326 votes while the former Chancellor received 60,399.

All of the UK’s three female Prime Ministers – Truss, Theresa May and Margaret Thatcher – have represented the Conservative Party. Labour has yet to elect a female leader, though Margaret Beckett and Harriet Harman have both held the role of acting leader of the party.

Asked whether she would like to be Labour’s first female leader, Nandy told viewers: “I’d like to be in charge of levelling up this country and getting the economy working again. That’s the job that I’ve got my eye on. It’s an absolutely desperate necessity now, not just for some parts of the country but for the entire country.

“And this cost-of-living crisis is showing just how central that is. If we can win that election in 2024, which is when Liz Truss says that it’s coming, that will be our top priority – to deliver for everybody in this country, not just some.”

Starmer said today: “I am very proud of the Labour Party’s record when it comes to equality. Over half of our MPs are women. Over half of my shadow cabinet are women. I’ve got a woman who’s my Shadow Chancellor and a woman who’s my Shadow Home Secretary.”

Wes Streeting declared that the Labour Party has “consistently” led the way on gender equality and described the shadow cabinet as a “diverse team drawn from all parts of the country”.

“In Rachel Reeves we have the person who’d be the country’s first woman Chancellor, so we’re not complacent on this issue,” the Shadow Health Secretary added.

Nandy came third in the 2020 Labour leadership contest behind Starmer and Rebecca Long-Bailey. The current Labour leader won the contest to succeed Jeremy Corbyn with 56.2% of the first preference votes.

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