Women's Equality party leader Sophie Walker steps down

First leader of feminist party quits after four years saying UK is ‘crying out for new activists and new ideas’

Sophie Walker has stepped down as leader of the Women’s Equality party.

The first leader of the feminist political party is stepping down after four years in the role, she wrote on Twitter.

The former Reuters journalist posted a statement announcing her decision. “After four years of building @WEP_UK I have decided to resign. Because sometimes in order to lead, you have to get out of the way,” she wrote.

“The political quagmire in which the UK finds itself cries out for new activists and new ideas.

“With democracy so broken, it has never been more important to do politics differently. My urgent aim is to champion many new campaigners, activists and leaders with different backgrounds.”

After four years of building @WEP_UK I have decided to resign. Because sometimes in order to lead, you have to get out of the way. My statement is here: pic.twitter.com/ju4WMVjJzN

— Sophie Walker (@SophieRunning) January 22, 2019

Pointing to the debate within feminist and political movements that they have not been inclusive enough, Walker said: “I am also frustrated by the limits of my own work to ensure that women of colour, working class women and disabled women see themselves reflected in this party and know they can lead this movement.”

Walker was elected leader last March and has left before her five-year term official ended.

She stood to become the London mayor in 2016. In the 2017 general election, she stood to become MP for Shipley, but lost to Conservative MP and men’s rights activist Philip Davies.

A statement from the party’s co-founders, the television presenter Sandi Toksvig and Catherine Mayer, said: “We are hugely sorry to see Sophie go, but as we look back over her tenure as leader of the Women’s Equality party, we also thank our lucky stars that she was there from the beginning and stayed for as long as she did to see this new party fully launched and established.

“We set up the party because we were impatient for equality and we wanted to open politics to the talents it routinely excludes. We knew these untapped talents were out there.”


Rajeev Syal

The GuardianTramp

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