UK Politics

Women's Equality Party: Sophie Walker quits as leader

Sophie Walker Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Sophie Walker said she hoped the party would not be led by "white middle class, non-disabled women."

The first leader of the Women's Equality Party has resigned from her role.

In a Twitter post, Sophie Walker said she was "frustrated" with the WEP's lack of diversity, the feminism movement and party politics.

The feminist party, which campaigns for gender equality, was founded by Bake Off presenter Sandi Toksvig and journalist Catherine Mayer in 2015.

The pair said they were "sorry to see Sophie go."

A former Reuters journalist, Ms Walker was elected into a five-year term as leader last March.

But 10 months later she announced her resignation, describing the UK as being in a "political quagmire" which "cries out for new activists and new ideas."

She added: "I am frustrated by complacency in the feminist movement and in political parties about making space for Black, Asian and minority ethnic women, working class women and disabled women in particular.

"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."

She added that she hoped to be replaced by people who were "not white middle class, non-disabled women."

Ms Walker stood to become the London mayor in 2016 before running for parliament in the 2017 general election.

Her bid to become MP for Shipley, in West Yorkshire, was unsuccessful, losing to Conservative MP and men's rights activist Philip Davies.

She was one of seven WEP candidates to stand in the election, none of whom was elected and all lost their deposits after achieving less than 5% of the vote.

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Media captionWomen's Equality Party policies and election results

A statement from the party's co-founders 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. That didn't mean we dreamed of finding an untapped talent of the magnitude of Sophie's."

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