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Equality Act 2010

Section 104: Selection of candidates

335.This section allows registered political parties to make arrangements in relation to the selection of election candidates to address the under-representation of people with particular protected characteristics in elected bodies.

336.These arrangements can include single-sex shortlists for election candidates, but not shortlists restricted to people with other protected characteristics. With the exception of single-sex shortlists, arrangements made under this section must be a proportionate means of reducing under-representation.

337.This provision applies to the selection of candidates in relation to elections to Parliament, local government, the European Parliament, the Scottish Parliament and the National Assembly for Wales.


338.For sex, the section replicates the effect of similar provisions contained in the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, as amended by the Sex Discrimination (Election Candidates) Act 2002, relating to the selection of candidates. For the other protected characteristics this section introduces new provisions allowing political parties to take action in their selection arrangements in order to address under-representation in elected bodies (apart from shortlists restricted to people with a particular protected characteristic) where this would be proportionate. This will, for instance, allow political parties to reserve places on relevant electoral shortlists for people with a specific protected characteristic such as race, disability etc.

  • A political party can have a women-only shortlist of potential candidates to represent a particular constituency in Parliament, provided women remain under-represented in the party’s Members of Parliament.

  • A political party cannot shortlist only black or Asian candidates for a local government by-election. However, if Asians are under-represented amongst a party’s elected councillors on a particular Council, the party could choose to reserve a specific number of seats for Asian candidates on a by-election shortlist.

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