Caroline Lucas, a Green Party MP, has invited 10 women from the major political parties to join an emergency cabinet to stop a no-deal Brexit.
With continued paralysis in both Parliament and the country around Brexit negotiations, Lucas writes ‘I believe women have shown they can bring a different perspective to crises, are able to reach out to those they disagree with and cooperate to find solutions.’
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Lucas said:
‘By reaching out to the most senior women in other parties across Parliament, we would then come together to try to find a way through this, simply and only to discuss how to avoid a dangerous crash-out Brexit and to find a way which allows the British people to decide which course of action to take.’
The 10 women Lucas has asked to form this cabinet are:
- Heidi Allen, Independent
- Kirsty Blackman, Scottish National Party
- Yvette Cooper, Labour
- Justine Greening, Conservative
- Sylvia Hermon, Independent
- Liz Saville Roberts, Plaid Cymru
- Anna Soubry, Independent Group for Change
- Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish National Party
- Jo Swinson, Liberal Democrat
- Emily Thornberry, Labour
Critics have been quick to point out two key challenges:
- First, men make up 49% of the population; denying them participation simply because of their gender could be classed as sexist
- Second, all of the women invited are white; surely what’s needed now is a diversity of background, thought and voice
Lucas addressed these points on Today by saying that this is a short-term, emergency cabinet whose sole aim is to stop a no-deal Brexit and allow the British public to have a say in what happens next. She selected women in leadership positions within the various parties who would have the influence to push forward change. It just so happens that the female leaders in all the parties are white.
She said it would be her intention to expand the conversation when a no-deal Brexit has been stopped.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) recently published a report on Women in Business and Management: The business case for change. They have found that greater gender diversity and more women in positions of leadership at the management and board levels leads to:
- higher profitability and productivity
- increased ability to attract and retain talent
- greater creativity, innovation and openness
- enhanced reputation
- the ability to better gauge the audience’s interest and demand
Citing the women who played key roles in both the Paris climate agreement and peace movements during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, Lucas wants to see that same leadership from women in politics today.
Goal 5 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals is all about advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment. But this shouldn’t be at the exclusion of men.
We believe that a fairer world, where everyone is represented and has a say in how it is governed, is the truly sustainable model.
Regardless of what happens with the proposed cabinet, it was the closing remarks of Lucas on the Today show that we support. When asked if cross-party co-operation is the way forward, she said:
‘If we don’t do that, we will have failed this country. We will have failed future generations and we will have brought upon ourselves the most extraordinary harm that is entirely avoidable. People need to step out of their tribal bunkers and put the national interest first.’