Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Only One in Six Tory MPs Would Be Women under PM Cameron; Blue Monday: Theresa May, the Shadow Leader of the Commons, Takes to the Floor at a Party in Blackpool Last Night

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Only One in Six Tory MPs Would Be Women under PM Cameron; Blue Monday: Theresa May, the Shadow Leader of the Commons, Takes to the Floor at a Party in Blackpool Last Night

Article excerpt

Byline: PAUL WAUGH

DAVID CAMERON was facing embarrassment today after it emerged that justone in six Tory MPs will be women if he wins the next election.

Mr Cameron made the election of more women MPs a central plank of hismodernising agenda when he ran for the party leadership in 2005.

But an Evening Standard analysis of the party's candidate selection lists hasfound that only 16 per cent of Conservative MPs would be female in the event ofMr Cameron forming a minority Government.

A raft of selections of men in recent months has led to disillusionment amongTory women insiders and undermined the leader's hopes that he can change thegender balance of his team.

The low number of women is now leading some within the party to urge Mr Cameronto exploit a snap general election to "parachute" candidates into certainareas.

But there is intense frustration at the "bed blockers"senior MPs who refuse to retire.

In the 76 target seats that the Conservatives need to take from Labour toscrape into power, only 17 constituency associations (21 per cent) have chosenwomen candidates, our survey reveals. …

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