Kent Police under fire from Women’s Equality Party Leader in Tunbridge Wells

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The Leader of the national Women’s Equality Party has called on Kent Police to tackle their gender pay gap.

Sophie Walker visited Tunbridge Wells on Saturday to support colleague Liz Orr, who is standing for Culverden ward in May’s borough council elections.

Kent Police recorded a median pay gap of 27.5 per cent, which was the second highest of the 44 forces to release figures earlier this month.

Ms Walker told the Times this issue is proving one of the party’s biggest talking points on the doorstep.

‘It is outrageous that in 2018 we have this, but it is not a surprise,’ she said.

‘How can you expect the police force to be treating the community fairly if it does not treat its own staff fairly?

‘On the council we would look to pressure the police on this.’

Kent Police has previously defended their policies, saying that staff in each position are paid the same, regardless of gender.

But this has led to criticism that there are not enough women in top police roles.

The Women’s Equality Party, which founded in 2015, is standing 31 local election candidates across the UK in the polls on May 3.

Ms Orr is the first to ever stand for them in a Tunbridge Wells Borough Council election. Culverden is the only one of the 16 seats they will stand for.

Women’s Equality Party member Celine Thomas stood against Greg Clark for the Tunbridge Wells constituency seat last year and won 702 votes.

Ms Walker, the party’s leader since 2015, continued: ‘We are aiming to stand up for the biggest group of people who are currently discriminated against.

‘There is no area where we have equality. We are the only party that encourages others to steal our ideas.

‘I am delighted to be in Tunbridge Wells. Liz is an outstanding candidate and we are working hard for her to win this seat.’

As well as equal representation and pay, the party also champions equal parenting rights, equal representation in education and in the media.

In Tunbridge Wells the Conservative-held council’s contested £90million Civic Complex and theatre plan has been a major talking point.

These elections will also see the newly formed Tunbridge Wells Alliance stand for the first time, as they seek to oppose the development.

Ms Orr, who has lived in Culverden for 20 years, said she felt the cost of the project was ‘too much’.

The 16 seats to be contested forms one third of the council. The majority of the Conservative Party, who have 43 seats, will not be overhauled.

The Green Party, UKIP, Labour and the Liberal Democrats are also standing candidates in the local election.

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