New Statesman | Is Labour ready to elect a woman as leader? The evidence suggests not


There’s going to be a lot of argument over the next few months about who can win Labour’s leadership election. Bit it’s also worth talking about who loses. In 1994, it was Margaret Beckett. In 2010, it was Diane Abbott. In 2015, it was Liz Kendall; second last was Yvette Cooper. The 2015 deputy leadership election was lost by a man, Ben Bradshaw; however, Angela Eagle, Caroline Flint and Stella Creasy were all steamrollered by Tom Watson in the end. In 2007, Harriet Harman narrowly won the vote for deputy leader – but she lost anyway, because Gordon Brown decided not to appoint her deputy prime minister. As Angela Eagle launches her bid for the Labour leadership, one of her lines is: “Labour is ready for a woman leader”. It’s certainly time that Labour had a woman leader. But looking at Labour’s track record, it’s difficult to find any reason to believe that the party is ready.

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