Headline was sexist and objectionable

Julie Cooper
Julie Cooper

Can I say how objectionable and sexist I find your headline “Girl Power” about our all women shortlist for the selection of the next Labour Party parliamentary candidate.

Julie Cooper is not a girl but a mature woman who has run a business and been leader of the Labour Group of councillors since 2008. She has been a capable leader of the council since Labour regained control in 2012. The headline is an attempt to diminish her.

It is not as if this is a new story - Burnley CLP decided in February by 3 to 2 it would prefer an open shortlist, but when informed of the NEC decision in April that Burnley would be designated as an all-women shortlist seat, a motion to object was overwhelmingly defeated. We took the view the overwhelming need was to have a candidate in place in good time, which did not occur in 2010 when our objections did result in an open shortlist, but Julie was still selected as candidate and only narrowly defeated.

As things stand now, we have decided a shortlist of three women including Julie Cooper, all of whom we judge to be capable of being an effective MP. These three have not been “pre-vetted” as alleged by the Liberal agent, they replied to an open advert on the Labour Party website. The decision as to who will be the candidate will be made by our members at a meeting open to all 400 of them. We will let you know who is selected. After that, as Julie said, it is up to Burnley’s electorate to decide.

Peter Kenyon, Burnley CLP Secretary