Tory MS slams plans for introduction of Senedd gender quotas
Conservative MS Natasha Asghar has attacked proposals to introduce gender quotas to the Senedd.
The introduction of quotas is one of a raft of reforms put forward as part of the cooperation agreement between Plaid Cymru and the Labour Party.
The Senedd committee drawing up the plans recommended placing a legal obligation on parties to present equal numbers of men and women on their candidate lists but also acknowledged there was a possibility of a legal challenge because powers over most equality and discrimination issues lie in Westminster and not Cardiff.
Writing in Politics Home, Ms Asghar the first woman of colour to be elected as an MS, said she wants the Senedd to be as inclusive and diverse as possible but believes “politicians should be elected on merit – not simply because they tick the right boxes.”
“I want to see a Senedd that has more women, more people of colour, more disabled politicians, and more members of the LGBTQ+ community,” she said.
“However, politicians should be elected on merit – not simply because they tick the right boxes, which is what I fear will happen in Wales under these plans.
“I am proud of the fact that I am the first woman of colour to be elected to the Senedd, but I did not get here simply because of the colour of my skin. I got where I am today on my own merit through equal competition,” she added.
There should be no gender balance. No all-women shortlist. No positive discrimination. People across Wales, who we as politicians serve, deserve to know that Senedd members are in post because they are good at their job – not because they tick all the boxes to fulfil an artificial quota.
The reform proposals, which would also see the number of Members increase from 60 to 96, and a change to the voting system for electing them, were discussed in the Senedd last week and were backed by 40 votes to 14.
The Welsh Conservatives strongly oppose the changes and have called for a referendum to be held before they are introduced.
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