Victory for the Good Old Boys
Obviously I hope that whichever of the shortlisted candidates in Ealing Southall is successful goes on to become the next MP for the seat. But shortlisting two men in a seat which had been agreed for an All Women Shortlist was the wrong decision. Indeed, shortlisting two men was the wrong decision full stop, AWS or no AWS. (The process in Sedgefield was a bit less blatant but similarly depressing).
The dilemma that the NEC faces is that if a disappointed candidate who thinks of himself as the natural successor runs in the election as an independent, it could well cost Labour the seat. So it's important to appease them, but not to pay attention to the pro-equality people who accept decisions about selections and get on with supporting Labour regardless.
As Piara Khabra said, "We should give more opportunity for women to play their part in running the country". Selections for these by-elections offered a good chance to offer that opportunity, and we (and, of course, Tories and Lib Dems, goeswithoutsaying) missed it. The priority between now and 18th July is to make sure we do get our candidates elected, but after that we do need a bit of a think about how we can get away from selecting favoured sons in safe Labour seats.