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Sex Discrimination (Election Candidates) Bill

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The government has published the long-expected Sex Discrimination (Election Candidates) Bill.

It inserts a new section 42A into the Sex Discrimination 1975, which has the effect of disapplying the 1975 Act to any arrangements relating to the right of a registered political party to regulate the selection of that party's election candidates in national, European and local elections.

In other words, it will be permissible for political parties to adopt women-only shortlists, a practice which was previously ruled unlawful.

In order for the exemption to apply, the arrangements must be for the purpose of reducing inequality in the numbers of men and women elected.

The Act (assuming it is enacted) will expire at the end of 2015, unless extended by statutory instrument.

The Bill can be downloaded from here.