With May and Corbyn’s names on everyone’s lips, I would like to remind you that other parties exist outside of Labour and Conservative. For example, have you heard of Sophie Walker? She is the leader of the Women’s Equality party and after an announcement on April 23rd will be running in June for the constituency of Shipley. What is the Women’s Equality Party I here you say? Formed in 2015, after the annual Women of the World conference, the parties core objectives include equal parliamentary representation of women, equal pay, equal education, equal media representation and ending violence against women.
Although I’m sure the small Yorkshire constituency of Shipley is a great area to represent in its own right, the party has a more pointed approach in choosing this area for their first electoral candidate. In the announcement published on their site, Walker stated,
“Philip Davies’s [Shipley’s current Conservative MP] track record of misogyny should have no place in Parliament. It is a national embarrassment that he sits on the Women and Equalities Committee. Shipley deserves an MP that will represent the needs and interests of all its constituents, instead of one who spends constituency time on a self-indulgent anti-women campaign”
Walker also stated that, “I have spoken to women across the constituency who are determined to make this election his last,” and that, “I understand that Philip Davies is a bit of a gambling man — I’d advise him not to bet against us”. This is a big claim for a party who only opened membership in July 2015. However, Walker ran for London Mayor in 2016 and won 5.2% of the total votes, hot on the heels of UKIP candidate Peter Whittle. They also aided in the successful campaign for the reinstatement of Feminism on the A Level Politics syllabus.
With En Marche! front running the French general election under Macron, only a year after the parties conception, is it really that crazy to gamble that the Women’s Equality Party will win a seat in June? The Women’s Equality party also commented in their announcement that “Both the Liberal Democrats and Green Party are in discussions about standing down in that constituency to give women’s equality the best chance in Shipley”.
Although it is hard to deny the current dominance of the major parties, the possibility of smaller parties (like the Women’s Equality Party, Green Party and UKIP) winning seats shouldn’t be ignored in the run-up to the general election. Anything is possible.
See the parties full statement here: http://www.womensequality.org.uk/shipley_announcement