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Was Labour Penalised where it Stood All Women Shortlist Candidates? An Analysis of the 2010 UK General Election

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Abstract

Despite losing nearly 100 seats, Labour managed to increase its percentage of women MPs in parliament due to the success of all women shortlists (AWS). However, 35 AWS candidates were defeated. So was Labour penalised where it stood AWS candidates or was any backlash symptomatic of Labour's electoral predicament or the result of being a new candidate in a seat? Here we examine whether AWS candidates fared worse than other Labour candidates in the 2010 general election. Our findings suggest that AWS candidates suffered from being new candidates. Both AWS and non-AWS candidates in Labour-held seats fared significantly better than AWS and new candidates in non-held seats. But there was no significant difference in support between AWS and new non-AWS candidates standing in incumbent seats or between AWS and new candidates in non-held Labour seats. Put simply, there was no anti-AWS effect, even after taking account of incumbency status, in the 2010 general election.

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