Yvette Cooper: Next Labour leader must shake up 'boys' club'
Three of the four declared candidates to succeed Ed Miliband are women, although Andy Burnham remains the favourite.
A woman has never been the permanent leader of the Labour party, although Harriet Harman and Margaret Beckett have both done the job on an interim basis.
Ms Cooper, who confirmed this morning that she had discussed her decision to run with husband Ed Balls, was asked on ITV’s Lorraine programme whether Labour was ready for a female at the top of the party.
“I hope so,” she replied. “We’ve had 100 years of championing women’s equality in the Labour party. This is a glass ceiling that of course it’s time for us to smash.
“I think also it’s a chance to do politics differently, to get rid or to challenge and shake up the Westminster old boys’ club.”
Ms Cooper also stressed the importance of having somebody experienced in the role, after previous frontrunner Chuka Umunna pulled out, claiming he had underestimated the scale of media pressure.
“I completely respect Chuka’s decision – that’s why I think obviously it’s important to have the experience and to be ready to do the job and so we’ve been through that, I’ve been through that in the past and I think we’ve got to be able to do this because you can’t be put off by the difficult things that happen when this is such an important job.”