Harriet Harman

Member of Parliament for Camberwell and Peckham. Mother of the House of Commons.

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Harriet Harman MP, Labour’s Deputy Leader, will take a leading role in Labour’s general election campaign to win the support of women voters. 

She will work closely with the General Election Coordinator, Douglas Alexander, the Vice Chair of the Election Campaign, Lucy Powell and the Shadow Women and Equalities Minister, Gloria De Piero alongside women across Labour’s movement.

 This comes at a time when new analysis of Tory candidates in battleground seats reveals that David Cameron is failing to act on his ‘women problem’. Over three quarters of Tory candidates (77 per cent) in the battleground seats at the next election are male. 100 out of 130 Tory candidates are male whilst over half of Labour’s target seats have women candidates and only 25 per cent of Labour’s retirement seats, have male candidates.

 Labour will show that it is the only Party which will deliver for women in terms of its people, policies and politics by running a campaign which:

  • Has a strong offer for women in its manifesto.
  • Puts women’s concerns at the heart of the campaign in terms of spokespeople, news stories and events including a tour across the regions and nations.
  • Reminds women voters about Labour’s strong record on issues like childcare, family care, equal pay and tackling domestic violence.
  • Highlights the Tory and Lib Dem actions which have made life harder for women such as tax changes, public sector cuts and the continued pay gap.
  • Harnesses the energy, strength and breadth of Labour’s women, including the 1000 activists who attended this year’s annual Women’s Conference and the hundreds of women across the country who participated in Gloria’s highly successful “What Women Want” tour and Harriet’s Older Women’s Commission.
  • Draws on the talent of Labour women members, trade unionists, MPs, frontbenchers, Shadow Cabinet members, Peers, Councillors, MSPs, AMs and MEPs
  • And works with women’s organisations and the women’s movement in this country.


Importance of women's votes to Labour winning

 Recent polling in 57 of Labour’s target seats, shows that in 84 per cent (48/57 seats) Labour is well out in front with women - with an average lead of 9 per cent over the Tories. Examples include Carlisle where Labour's lead with women is 13 per cent and Redcar where Labour leads with women by 22 per cent.  Lee Sherriff in Carlisle and Anna Turley in Redcar are just two of the Labour women candidates hopes will join Labour in Parliament next year.

Harriet Harman MP, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party said:

 “Under this Government the progress in women's lives has stalled and is now falling back. For women to make progress there must be a Labour government and women's votes will be key to getting a Labour government.

 “This election is going to be a close contest. But women hold the balance of power and will determine whether we have a Tory or Labour Prime Minister in No10.

 “Labour listens to women and speaks up for women.  Labour is the party of and for women, in our people our policies and our politics

 “We have a great team of Labour women across the country and I will be working closely with Douglas Alexander, Lucy Powell and Gloria De Piero and Labour's whole team, putting women at the heart of Labour’s election campaign.”


Gloria De Piero, Shadow Women and Equalities Minister said:

 “I can't wait to get out there and campaign - street by street, conversation by conversation, woman to woman. Whilst women have been the big losers from this government, whether it be our pledge on 25 hours free childcare or raising the minimum wage which will disproportionately benefit women, women and families will be at the heart of everything we do.”​


Douglas Alexander, Chair of General Election Strategy, said:

 “Harriet and Gloria will have a vital role to play in the coming months working to win the support of women voters across the country. In a tough campaign and a tight election, they will make a significant contribution to the Labour campaign and to the fight to win the next general election.”

Notes to Editors


1.    Seats with significant lead with women:

 Target seats:

​Analysis of Ashcroft and ICM public polling of 57 marginal seats Labour is contesting has found that Labour has a significant lead with women.

Examples of where Labour is well-ahead with women include:

Redcar - 22 per cent Labour lead with women 

Carlisle - 13 per cent Labour lead with women 

Sherwood - 12 per cent Labour lead with women 

Hendon - 16 per cent Labour lead with women 

 2.    Labour women in Parliament

 ·         33 per cent of the PLP are women (16 per cent Con; 12 per cent Lib Dems)

·         45 per cent of Shadow Cabinet members are women (23 per cent of the Cabinet)

·         54 per cent women PPCs in retirement and target seats (24 per cent Con seats; 40 per cent Lib Dem seats)

·         Of the 369 women elected since 1918, 61 per cent were first elected for Labour (28 per cent  Con; 6 per cent Lib Dems (and predecessor parties))

 3.      David Cameron’s women problem continues

 David Cameron has admitted that the Tories need more Women in the Commons:

“On the important issue of getting more women into public life—[Interruption.] Yes, this is fantastically important for our country, because we will not represent or govern our country properly unless we have more women at every level in our public life and in our politics.”
David Cameron, Hansard, 5 February 2014, Column 264

However, over three quarters of Tory candidates (77 per cent) in the battleground seats at the next election are male. (100 out of 130 candidates are male.)

This is even higher in the battleground seats which the Conservatives already hold, the candidates most likely to be in the House of Commons after the election, with 80 per cent of candidates in battleground seats men. (71 out of 89 are male.)

Tory male candidates are in seats which are much more likely to see them in the Commons in 2015.

An average male candidate has a majority of 1,585 to defend, whereas an average female candidate has an 839 majority to try and cling on to.

 In every single region, the Tories are selecting more men than women to be their candidates in these battleground seats.

    • In Wales all 9 candidates in the battleground seats are male.
    • In Yorkshire & Humberside 9 out of 10 candidates are male.
    • In the Eastern region 11 out of 13 candidates are male.
    • In the South West 16 out of 19 candidates are male.
    • In the North West 14 out of 17 candidates are male.
    • In the North 3 out of 4 candidates are male.
    • In the West Midlands 15 out of 20 candidates are male.
    • In London 8 out of 12 candidates are male.
    • In the South East 8 out of 14 candidates are male.
    • In the East Midlands 6 out of 11 candidates are male.
    • In Scotland the only candidate in battleground seats is male.

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