Green party members challenge ban on MP job sharing

Two Green party members – Sarah Cope and Clare Phipps – are seeking a judicial review after their application to jointly stand for election in Basingstoke was rejected.

Both women were supported in making their joint bid by their party and, if their case is successful, it could result in an overhaul of electoral regulations.

They believe that more women should have the opportunity to represent a constituency in parliament, and that their combined efforts – if they had been given the chance to jointly stand for election – would have been more successful.

Ms Cope is the primary carer for two young children, while Ms Phipps suffers from idiopathic hypersomnia (a chronic condition that means she sleeps for approximately 12 hours every day) as well as studying for a part-time PhD in gender and health.

The pair are seeking permission for a judicial review, in order to overturn the returning officer’s decision that meant they could not stand for election.

Their case is likely to be successful if a Judge decides that denying potential MPs the chance to job share cannot be justified under the Human Rights Act and the Equality Act.

Ms Cope, who has been actively involved with the Green party for more than ten years, said: “The 32 million UK women make up 51 per cent of the population.

“At the moment however, over 450 of the 650 MPs in parliament are men.

“We need to change the culture of Westminster and stop wasting so much untapped talent.

“Allowing MPs to job share is a relatively minor change which could bring about huge benefits.”

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Nigel is the Managing Partner and Head of Litigation and Dispute Resolution in the London office of Mackrell Turner Garrett.