Senior Labour MP hits back at Change UK attempts to block female MP from joining women's committee with male MP
Change UK has been forced into another u-turn, backing down from attempts to block a female MP replacing a man on Westminster's Women and Equalities Committee
Gavin Shuker MP, one of the MPs who left Labour to form the new political grouping, attempted to block a female Labour MP replacing him on Westminster's only committee dedicated to women's rights
Although Shuker is a straight, white man who does not define into any oppressed group, Change UK originally attempting to block his replacement, Stephanie Peacock, using "arcane" parliamentary rules.
Common's rules assign places on select committees based on a party's size, and Labour was allowed to nominate replacements for those Labour MPs who resigned as Change UK is not entitled to be represented.
After the relevant motion was put to the House some weeks ago to replace Shuker, TIG MPs shouted “object”, preventing the change until Government Whips agreed to schedule time for a vote, which had been due on Wednesday.
Despite his place on the committee, Shuker has a difficult record on equalities issues, being one of the few Labour MPs, at the time who refused to vote for equal marriage for LGBT+ people.
Change UK backed down on Wednesday and did not object to the change during the relevant vote and debate, instead simply registering their opposition to Labour using its perogative to replace those who resigned.
A senior Labour MP said: “It’s hardly change politics to use old style parliamentary manoeuvres to block a young progressive woman from joining the equalities committee in favour of a white man with a questionable record on gay rights.
"Then again, this is the grouping that counts among their ranks the MP who referred to ethnic minorities having a ‘funny tinge’ so perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised.”
The u-turn comes after a string of embarassments for the newly formed party, including a string of their MEP candidates being forced to stand down over racist and sexist comments.
The groups original lead candidate in Scotland, Joseph Russo, stood down only 24 hours after his candidacy was announced when historic comments saying he was "scared of black woman" were discovered.
Another Labour source said: “This was the stupidest battle anyone’s chosen since Napoleon took a winter break in Moscow. How did they think it would look digging in their heels and demanding to keep a white straight bloke on the Women and Equalities Committee? It’s no surprise they’ve had to beat a retreat.
“You’d have thought they’d have learned some lessons after launching their first campaign with a pick and mix of bigots on their candidates’ list. Perhaps they should rebrand themselves the Movement Against Change.”
Change UK did not respond to requests for comment