Job-share Westminster MPs would open up politics, says Caroline

Caroline Lucas has called for the post of Member of Parliament to be opened up to job-shares to encourage more women MPs and make Westminster politics more accessible to ordinary people.

Caroline made the call in her first speech as both an MP and party leader to the autumn Green Party conference in Birmingham on Friday.

She said pairs of parliamentary candidates should be allowed to stand in general elections and share the job if elected.

"This would open up jobs in Westminster to women and allow MPs to retain stronger ties with their constituencies, she said.

"The party needs to retain its traditional mix of radical and pragmatist policies to "influence" the political debate and build its membership base.

"I'd like to see the law changed to allow candidates for Parliament to stand as job shares.

"Nothing would do more to open up politics to women.
"Now I know the Establishment will pour scorn on the idea and say its ideas like that which make us unelectable.

"Fine. Let them. "But I also know that this too is an idea whose time will come.

"We've been told that job-shares are no good for all sorts of professions, from doctors to lawyers, and in every case the men and women in those job shares have proved the doubters wrong.

"It's little different from the time when we were told that women didn't have what it took to be pilots, or a blind person couldn't serve as a magistrate.

"These battles must be fought, and whatever the criticism, I will fight them and I know you will too."

Speaking before her speech on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Caroline said the job-share plans were "actually incredibly sensible."

"How many times have people talked about career politicians, about politicians being out of touch with reality?

"If you had job-sharing MPs what that would allow you do is to keep MPs with a foot in their community, they could keep their caring responsibilities, they could keep voluntary work, they could continue part-time in their profession.

"It would enable far more women to get into politics."

On 6 May, Caroline won the seat of Brighton Pavilion, with a majority of 1,252 over Labour.

To watch Caroline's Autumn Party 2010 party conference speech visit the national party site at:

For more information please contact the Brighton and Hove Green Party office on 01273 766 670.

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