Julie Morgan: 'Women-only shortlists should be considered for every seat'

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Media captionJulie Morgan said action was needed due to the shortage of women from Wales in parliament

Women-only shortlists should be considered by the Labour Party for every Westminster seat that comes up in Wales, according to Cardiff North AM and former MP Julie Morgan.

A controversial all-female shortlist of candidates has been imposed by Labour in Cynon Valley angering some members.

A vacancy will also arise in Neath after Peter Hain said he would stand down at the 2015 general election.

Mrs Morgan said action was needed due to the shortage of women in parliament.

"My own personal view is that the statistics are so shocking, only 13 women ever have been MPs in Wales, that I do think that the women-only shortlists should be considered for every seat that does come up in Wales," she told BBC Radio Wales' Sunday Supplement.

"I do think that we have reached the stage where we have seen it's only by mechanisms like this that women do get selected."

Sitting Cynon Valley MP Ann Clwyd is retiring at the 2015 general election and Labour must choose a new candidate.

But while an all-women shortlist is being used by Labour in Cynon Valley, in Aberavon the party has chosen Stephen Kinnock, son of the former Labour leader Lord Kinnock, to stand as its candidate as Hywel Francis stands down.

Image caption Changes to the Sex Discrimination Act allowed parties to use all-women shortlists

Meanwhile, in Neath it is not yet known if a female-only shortlist will be imposed after Mr Hain's decision not to stand in 2015.

Mr Hain praised Mrs Morgan's support of all-women shortlists but told BBC Wales the decision in Neath was a matter for the party to decide.

Labour's decisions on which constituencies adopt the shortlists are made by its National Executive Committee, the governing body of the party as a whole.

Mrs Morgan said Labour was the only party that had tackled the issue head on but more still needed to be done.

"We have to look at the overall situation in Wales. Really, is it such a burden to have to choose a woman?" she said.

"We will have a whole range of very different candidates for all the different seats.

"I would've thought it would be a matter of pride to have a woman as an MP."

Best candidate

All-women shortlists are Labour Party policy and First Minister Carwyn Jones has spoken out in support of the decision in Cynon Valley.

He said the party always tried to ensure parliament consisted of people from a wide section of society.

However, some Labour members in Cynon Valley called for meetings with senior Labour officials.

Local secretary Alun Williams said the constituency needed the best candidate, regardless of their gender, and the local party was being "taken for granted".

He said the constituency had a "proud record of supporting women in political activity" with an MP, AM and women Labour councillors in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

Ms Clwyd has said she did not want to influence the process but added it was "up to the people in the party locally to make their own decision on it".

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