Tuesday, 24 May 2016 11:05

SNP take action to increase female candidates ahead of council elections

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SNP members have agreed new selection procedures to increase the number of female candidates in next year’s council elections, after similar procedures successfully increased the number of women elected as SNP MSPs.

The mechanism was agreed at SNP’s National Council and will require both women-only and open shortlists in seats where the party is standing more candidates than sitting councillors. The SNP's spring conference had instructed the party's National Executive Committee to bring forward this mechanism.

In a ward where the party has one sitting councillor and stands two candidates, at least one of the candidates will be required to be a woman.

Women-only shortlists were adopted by the SNP for this year’s Holyrood election in seats where an incumbent SNP MSP was stepping down. 43% of SNP MSPs elected in this election were women, an increase from the 2011 term.

In 2012 24.3% of councillors elected were women.

Commenting, SNP Business Convener Derek Mackay said:

“Ahead of next year’s council elections the SNP are determined to put forward our strongest ever team of local candidates.

“Part of this is ensuring that our candidates across the country reflect the communities they live in. Women have been underrepresented in politics for too long and we want council chambers to reflect communities – these election are now set to be transformative.

"The SNP has made substantial progress in being truly reflective of our country in Holyrood, but the largest number of elected representatives is in local government. That is why it is so important to take steps to make local government more representative of the communities they serve. The SNP are taking the issue of gender balance seriously while other parties have failed to act to improve female representation.

“I’m delighted that the SNP membership have endorsed these proposals, which will ensure that many more women are put forward for election than in the past.

“This is another step forward in ensuring that politics reflects Scottish society – and we look forward to working hard to turn a record number of female candidates into a record number of female councillors.”