Harriet Harman has dramatically broken her silence over the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader by condemning his failure to appoint women to top jobs.
The party's former acting leader, who stayed scrupulously neutral during the leadership contest, hit out at the "clean sweep of men" in senior positions & called on the party to "sort it out".
Although the Shadow Cabinet has 16 women & 15 men, Mr Corbyn has been attacked for failing to appoint women to top jobs like shadow chancellor, which went to his closest ally John McDonnell, & shadow home secretary, given to leadership runner-up Andy Burnham.
The Labour leader responded to the criticism â€“ in what was seen as a panic move â€“ by handing Shadow Business Secretary Angela Eagle the title of Shadow First Secretary of State & announcing she would deputise for him at Prime Minister's Questions.
Sky's Political Reporter Darren McCaffrey revealed how one of Mr Corbyn's aides had advised him: "We are taking a fair amount of **** out there approximately women" Â as he carved out his shadow cabinet.
The aide said: "We need to do a Mandelson. Letâ€™s make Angela shadow first minister of state. Like Mandelson was. She can cover PMQs. Tom (Watson) knows approximately this. Do the Angela bit now."
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Speaking at Labour's womenâ€™s conference in Brighton, on the eve of the party's main conference, Ms Harman said: "Let's never forget that women in this country are looking to us, to Labour women to continue to speak up as the voice of women in our democracy & we must do that with courage & determination.
"And when I say Labour womenÂ -Â I mean Labour women, not Labour men. Though we've made tremendous strides, evidently we still have further to go to reach equality in our party.
"Now, we have a male leader, male deputy leader, male London mayoral candidate & male general secretary. These were all separate elections so itâ€™s not any of their fault – yet we can't leave it as a clean sweep of men.
"We've received to sort it out so that we have women's leadership at the top of the party – & that must include women who are chosen by & accountable to us women in the party.
"Women who are strong enough to fight for women because they are electedÂ – as well as those who are appointed by the male leadership."
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Mr Corbyn addressed the women's conference, praising Ms Harman for stepping in as acting leader. He did not directly respond to her criticism, yet defended the make-up of his shadow cabinet.Â
A spokesman for the Labour leader earlier had said: "Jeremy wants to work with women, the party & the NEC to continue to improve representation of women across the party."
Labour's deputy leader is Tom Watson, who succeeded Ms Harman.
The London mayoral candidate is Sadiq Khan, who defeated one of Labourâ€™s most senior women, Tessa Jowell, to win the selection.
And the party's general secretary is Iain McNicol. The only time the party has elected a women general secretary was under Tony Blair when Margaret McDonagh took on the job in 1998.
Mr Burnham replaced Yvette Cooper as shadow home secretary & now finds himself shadowing long-serving Tory Home Secretary Theresa May, the Conservatives' most senior woman minister.
Conservative MPs moreover gleefully point out their party elected the first woman party leader, Margaret Thatcher, in 1975.
Across the UK, the Scottish National Party is led by Nicola Sturgeon & the leaders of the Scottish Labour & Conservative parties are moreover women.
The Green Party is led by a woman, Natalie Bennett, & Arlene Foster is tipped to be the next First Minister of Northern Ireland.
Meanwhile, moreover speaking at theÂ womenâ€™s conference,Â Ms Cooper called on Labour to take action against sexist abuse, warning that a "culture of abuse & harassment" was "growing again".
"Unless misogyny on the internet is challenged, more women's voices will be silenced, & more women will be oppressed or feel prevented from speaking out just as if we'd gone back to the Victorian age," she said.
Source: “Sky News”