Landmark diversity change will make the Liberal Democrats look like the nation we want to represent – Sal Brinton

Liberal Democrats have embraced diversity today by voting in favour of all-women shortlists.

Building on earlier successes and designed to increase diversity amongst candidates and MPs, the motion was supported by Party Leader Tim Farron, and passed overwhelmingly at the Liberal Democrat Spring Conference in York.

In addition to introducing all-women shortlists, the motion ensures more spaces on constituency shortlists for BAME and LGBT+ members. It also means the Liberal Democrats will be the first political party in the country to implement all-disabled shortlists.

Party President Sal Brinton said: “”Over the last few months many party members have told us they think it is time we dealt comprehensively with the lack of diversity amongst our MPs, the wider party and parliament overall.

“We believe we are the first party to propose reserving spaces on the shortlists of winnable seats for under represented candidates including women, BAME, LGBT+ and disabled candidates.

“Despite providing support and training to these candidates over many years, the training on its own simply hasn’t worked, and we need to remedy this, from the grassroots up.”

* News Meerkat - keeping a look-out for Liberal Democrat news. Meerkat photo by Paul Walter

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8 Comments

  • What degree of disability do you need to be considered for an “all disability shortlist”? Is 10% enough or is it 50%? Who decides if someone qualifies? Will Atos be called in to perform medicals?

  • Mick Taylor 13th Mar '16 - 7:04pm

    We need to explain clearly how the Equalities Act allows for reserved places on shortlists for BAME and LGBT+. Some people believe that we have only dealt with women and disabled candidates.
    If local parties identify a group that is in their view underrepresented in their area, then the Equalities Act allows for reservation of some places on shortlists for underrepresented groups.So it is possible to set up a shortlist that contains women, BAME and LGBT prospective candidates as well as others. It may mean bigger shortlists and it may need more effort to attract the necessary applicants, but it’s legal and it can be done.
    @malc. I assume anyone who is registered as disabled will be eligible.

  • @ Mick Taylor “We need to explain clearly how the Equalities Act allows for reserved places on shortlists for BAME and LGBT+. Some people believe that we have only dealt with women and disabled candidates.”

    You’d be better employed explaining how Leeds Central moved from second place and 21% in 2010 to fifth place and 3.4% in 2015……. and even more to the point what you’re going to do about it.

  • Landmark? Failed to make the news at 10…

  • Mick Taylor 14th Mar '16 - 7:46am

    @david raw. I have no idea about the question on Leeds Central since I was not involved there after 2010. I suspect that there was no campaign there to speak of in 2015, unlike the 3 leaflet campaign plus canvassing that I did in 2010. There was also the small matter of a rather poor LD national campaign in 2015, following our participation in government.
    With respect, your posts on this issue show you seem unable to accept that it is one thing to ensure fairness in candidate selection and another to campaign on radical Liberal policies to raise our vote and increase the number of LD MPs. The two issues are far from incompatible. However, I would point to the academic evidence that having a diverse slate of candidates improves your standing with the electorate because it makes you look like them.
    As I have said before I am not going to be a standard bearer for our party in the 2020 GE, but I will be doing my bit to put forward a Liberal vision for the UK. I believe this will be easier to do now that we intend to practise what we preach on equality.

  • Grahame Lamb 14th Mar '16 - 8:40am

    When a football manager/coach considers which players to send out onto the field does he (there are no female managers so far as I am aware) select the team for that day on the basis of ability, current fitness, knowledge of the ground, knowledge of the opposition players and their strengths and weaknesses? Or does he employ other criteria? If so, what? Is winning no longer important? Is the Liberal Democrat Party a “dead parrot”?

  • Mick Taylor 14th Mar '16 - 9:07am

    @ David Raw. I would also point out to Mr Raw that whilst I would have been delighted to continue in my role as a PPC following 2010, my wife was involved in a serious car crash in the autumn of 2010 and I spent the next 3 years as her carer and did not contest the 2015 election. Happily she is now fully recovered and we continue to play a role in campaigning for the party

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