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Liddell hits at SNP over women candidates
By FRANCES HORSBURGHSCOTTISH Labour and the SNP clashed yesterday over the number of women selected by the Nationalists as candidates to fight "first-past-the-post" seats in the Scottish Parliament election next May.
Deputy Scottish Secretary Helen Liddell attacked the SNP selection process as a "betrayal" of women after it was revealed there were 21 female candidates out of a total of 73.
Mrs Liddell, who is also Minister for Women, said: "The empty promises of the SNP on gender balance show they cannot be trusted to represent all the people of Scotland.
"Only Labour reflects the aspirations of Scottish women. We have selected an equal number of male and female candidates because our party is totally committed to increasing representation of women."
Mrs LIddell, who was yesterday named as a Privy Counsellor, claimed the SNP's selection process had been a disaster from start to finish. She added: "Even Nationalists have attacked Alex Salmond's beauty contest for being undemocratic . Quite frankly, women in Scotland deserve better."
SNP communications Director Kevin Pringle replied: "If Helen Liddell retains this incredibly close interest in the candidates who will run for the parliament then why isn't she one of them herself?"
The party's vice-convener for publicity, Nicola Sturgeon, who is the candidate for Glasgow Govan, said the Minister's "Nat-bashing" flew in the face of the facts as usual, as even before the SNP candidates for the regional lists had been selected, the proportion of women had risen from 20% at the last General Election to nearly 30% and they were all there on merit, she insisted.
In Glasgow, for example, the candidates were gender balanced.
q The Scottish Socialist Party yesterday picked a former General Election candidate in Dundee to carry the flag in the forthcoming European by-election. Party leader Tommy Sheridan said the selection of Harvey Duke, who fought under the socialist alliance banner last year, gave them a real chance to make an impact next month. - Oct 28.