Wigan MP: Labour should consider joint leadership

Labour should consider a joint leadership with a man and woman holding the post in a job-share arrangement, according to Wigan MP Lisa Nandy.

Sunday, 23rd September 2018, 1:47 pm
Updated Sunday, 23rd September 2018, 2:52 pm
Wigan MP Lisa Nandy

Ms Nandy's suggestion came after the party's ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) gave its backing to the election of a female co-deputy leader to serve alongside Tom Watson.

The NEC decision prompted speculation over female MPs like Emily Thornberry, Angela Rayner or Rebecca Long-Bailey seeking the deputy post as a springboard for an eventual bid for to succeed Jeremy Corbyn.

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Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has already said he would like Labour's next leader to be a woman but Ms Nandy said the party should go further and consider a joint male-female leadership team as the Green Party has previously had.

"I don't really think this is enough," she told Sky News. "I really welcome this announcement from the NEC today, I think it's absolutely essential that we have got a woman somewhere near the top of the party.

"But I don't think that should stop at deputy leader. I think we should have this sort of system for leader as well.

"I would like to see these positions open to job-sharing, a bit like the Green Party."

Ms Nandy said that as shadow energy secretary she relied on her team to stand in for her as she juggled the demands of a young family.

"It would have been great for me to be able to job-share in that role," she said.

When the issue was discussed on the Sunday TV political shows Mr Corbyn said he had no intention of vacating the leadership and prominent female MPs in the party said they had not even considered applying for the co-deputy role.

Mr Corbyn told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show: "We haven't had a woman leader so maybe a woman leader would be a good idea but I'm not planning to create a vacancy at any time soon."

Shadow business secretary Ms Long-Bailey told Sky News' Sophie Ridge on Sunday programme: "I honestly haven't thought about it. I'm very busy dealing with business, energy and industrial strategy and I like that very much and I'm sure that's going to keep me busy for a long time."

Mr Watson also said he wanted to see a female leader of the Labour Party after Mr Corbyn.

He told Sky: "It seems to me the time is right for Labour to choose a woman to lead us after Jeremy."

Mr Watson said he recognised some elements within Labour were "worried" about the prospect of having three elected figures at the top of the party each with their own personal mandate from the membership.

But he said that he backed the female co-deputy leader post: "I think it's only good for the party and good for women's representation and that's why I argued for it at the NEC."