Labour stalwart quits over all-woman list

A LIFELONG Labour Party worker has quit the party over a bid to force through an all-woman shortlist for a Herts County Council seat. Malcolm Macmillan, who is chair of London Colney Parish Council, is a former Mayor of St Albans who was a long-time leade

A LIFELONG Labour Party worker has quit the party over a bid to force through an all-woman shortlist for a Herts County Council seat.

Malcolm Macmillan, who is chair of London Colney Parish Council, is a former Mayor of St Albans who was a long-time leader of the Labour group on St Albans District Council, a Labour county councillor and a prospective Parliamentary candidate for the party.

But after 30-plus years in the Labour Party, he has resigned his membership because of the insistence on an all-woman shortlist for The Colneys in the forthcoming Herts County Council elections.

He blamed "bully-boy" tactics at both county and Eastern Region levels of the Labour Party for his decision.


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Malcolm explained that the prospect of an all-woman shortlist was mooted last year and local members had felt it was crazy because they had a good candidate in former St Albans district councillor Chris Flynn.

The local party was told to send out letters to all women who had been shortlisted for the seat and invite them to a meeting - but none of them turned up and they decided to adopt Chris Flynn as candidate.

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Instead of that being the end of the matter, East of England Minister Barbara Follett was asked to contact all would-be women candidates in the area to get their names on the shortlist.

Malcolm resigned his membership of the party at the annual meeting and admitted it had broken his heart.

He added: "It is just unbelievable that something like this can happen in our area. We have a great branch and great people and it is just tragic.

Unfair

"People leave for one of two reasons, either policy or process. You don't always agree with the policy but you stick with your party mostly, but I can't stick with this undemocratic and unfair process."

Malcolm believes The Colneys has been targeted for an all-woman shortlist because it is a winnable seat. Although it is currently Conservative, both he and another Labour councillor, Rosie Sanderson, have held it for long periods in the past.

He added: "We have got one of the most active branches in Herts, a very democratic branch and we win seats. We had two women district councillors out of two, the Labour group has five women out of six and our Parliamentary candidate is a woman. It is a nonsense to treat us so appallingly.

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