Labour frontbencher Lisa Nandy has criticised her own party for selecting five white male candidates for a string of forthcoming by-elections.
The shadow communities secretary told Sky News that “of course” she was bothered Labour had gone for an all-white male list to contest the Westminster seats.
Female opposition MPs are reported to be angered at the lack of diversity of the slate and the failure to reflect the make-up of society.
Pressed on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme if she was “bothered” that Labour’s candidates were all white men, Ms Nandy said: “Yes, of course.
“It’s something that we take very seriously in the Labour Party.
“I myself was selected on an all-women shortlist. People say now I would have been selected anyway but the truth is that until and unless we change the perception of what a member of parliament looks like, that wasn’t going to change.”
She added: “We have reached the threshold of being allowed to use all-women shortlists again but for me and others across the Labour Party, it is incumbent on us to go out and make the case for why we need more women and more diversity in parliament and particularly at local level.
“If we are going to effect the biggest transfer of power out of Westminster and Whitehall in modern British history, which we are, we need to make sure that our mayors and our council leaders and our cabinet members are representative of the communities that they serve and we are absolutely committed to doing that.”
Danny Beales is contesting Boris Johnson’s old seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip for Labour, while Keir Mather has been selected in Selby and Ainsty, where Nigel Adams, a close ally of the former prime minister, also quit.
Alistair Strathern has been selected as the Labour candidate for Mid Bedfordshire – the seat Nadine Dorries has promised to resign but has yet to formally do so.
Neil Guild has been chosen for Somerton and Frome, where David Warburton resigned over allegations about cocaine use and harassment.
Michael Shanks will contest in Rutherglen and Hamilton West, if a petition to oust the COVID rule-breaking MP Margaret Ferrier successfully hits the threshold to trigger a vote.