Liberal Democrats agree to all-women shortlists
All eight of the party’s MPs are white men, leading Tim Farron to argue: “The time for excuses has gone.”
A motion passed by the Lib Dem spring conference states that if any of those eight MPs chooses not to stand again in 2020, their replacement must be drawn from an all-women shortlist.
In any region where the Liberal Democrats won over 25% of the vote in two or more constituencies, at least one seat must be taken from an all-women shortlist.
In seats in the top 10% of the Liberal Democrats’ performance at the last election, two candidates for the selection shortlist should be drawn from under-represented groups, the motion said.
“We believe we are the first party to propose reserving spaces on the shortlists of winnable seats for underrepresented candidates including women, BAME, LGBT+ and disabled candidates,” said party president Baroness Brinton.
“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."
Mr Farron’s leader speech, meanwhile, called for the party to return to its roots in “community politics”.
He suggested Lib Dem MPs had changed their priorities once they made it to the Houses of Parliament.
“Westminster can be a beguiling place,” he said. “When you are there, there's constant temptation to try and be like everyone else. We arrive in the big league on our terms. But we too often attempt to remain on theirs.
“We must return to our roots. No matter the office, always remaining true to our instincts. It's time to focus not on parliamentary games, but on real life. It's time we got back to community politics."