Nick Clegg – “Parliament houses a shooting gallery but not a creche”

Today witnessed the appearance of Nick Clegg (as well as Gordon Brown and David Cameron) in front of the Speaker’s Conference, chaired by the new Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow.

The issue this special committee has been asked to look at is: “Consider, and make recommendations for rectifying, the disparity between the representation of women, ethnic minorities and disabled people in the House of Commons and their representation in the UK population at large”.

You can watch Nick give his views and answer questions on the Parliament website here (his part begins about 48 minutes, if you want to skip Gordon and David) – and here’s the PoliticsHome precis of his comments:

He conceded that the Liberal Democrat parliamentary party was “woefully unrepresentative of modern Britain” but added that it has a much better record at council level, and insisted that “progress is sharply in the right direction”.

“By the measures that we’ve taken over the past few years we have made significant progress,” he said.

He said their had been a “sea change in the way Liberal Democrats have selected candidates” but added that the process “should have started earlier after the last general election”. He also insisted that their were Liberal Democrat candidates from ethnic minorities in winnable seats.

He added that whilst the Liberal Democrats have adopted a bottom up approach to improving representation in their selection of candidates, he would be prepared to consider shortlists if their weren’t improvements at the next election.

He also said a parliament that houses a shooting gallery but not a creche was indicative a parliament that “doesn’t have modern Britain represented in it”.

Members of the public can contribute their thoughts at the special Speaker’s Conference discussion forum.

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6 Comments

  • Alix Mortimer 20th Oct '09 - 10:39pm

    Politics Home really used “their” instead of “there” throughout their piece? Sheesh, standards have really dropped under Ashcroft.

  • Painfully Liberal 21st Oct '09 - 9:44am

    I work in the House of Commons (hence my need for a silly pseudonym) I’m a member of the Palace of Westminster Rifle Club and use the range regularly. It’s in a dank windowless basement nestled amongst the engineers storerooms – you’d have to really hate your children to want to put them there.

    I agree that the House needs to modernise its practices and facilities, and that a creche is a fairly desparate omission but this comparison, though popular is utterly facile. I can understand it from Labour MPs who use it as a way of saying “I’m in favour of creches and opposed to the sport of target shooting” but I’d like to think it was beneath members of our party. Even the use of the pejorative phrase “shooting gallery” rather than the more correct “range” strikes me as rather shabby.

    I’d like to work in a House of commons that had a creche and a rifle range.

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