Morning Call: pick of the papers

The ten must-read comment pieces from today's papers

1. International Coming Out Day: The jokes are widespread, but there is a reality behind it Independent

My ex couldn't manage to come out to her parents while we were together, and it hurt, writes Rosie Wilby.

2. Trade unions and Tories march to the same beat Times (£)

They think they’re opponents but really they need each other, writes Matthew Parris.

3. David Cameron has shown why the Tories are the truly moral party Telegraph

The Prime Minister made a compelling case for his great social reforms at the Conservative Party conference, writes Peter Oborne

4. David Cameron's Conservatives are living a lie and he can't speak up Guardian

Cameron's conference speech held out the promise that Britain can go it alone, without Europe or the US. It's an illusion, says Martin Kettle.

5. Only by coming together can students and trade unions fight the Coalition's failing austerity Independent

Our writer, a student activist, argues that though we are about to see another wave of protests across Britain, it needs to be more co-ordinated if it is to be effective, writes Matthew Brett.

6. But what if Europe follows a different map? Times (£)

The Cameron-Hague plan for a new relationship with the EU forgets only one thing — all the other members, says David Aaronovitch.

7. Boris Johnson: brilliant, warm, funny – and totally unfit to be PM Guardian

For 20 years I've known London's mayor is a gold-medal egomaniac. If he gets into No 10, I'm on the first plane out, writes Max Hastings.

8. Cash upfront for the road to serfdom Financial Times (£)

Robert Shrimsley walks an employee through the fire-at-will policy.

9. David Cameron won’t win an election by adopting the politics of fear Telegraph

The Prime Minister must distil from a mish-mash of Tory policies a vision to unite the country, writes Mary Riddell

10. The Cost of Protecting Greece’s Public Sector New York Times (£)

Calls to slash a massive bureaucracy give way to the reality of the public sector’s political clout, writes John Sfakianakis.

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

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How the Lib Dems learned to love all-women shortlists

Yes, the sitting Lib Dem MPs are mostly white, middle-aged middle class men. But the party's not taking any chances. 

I can’t tell you who’ll be the Lib Dem candidate in Southport on 8 June, but I do know one thing about them. As they’re replacing a sitting Lib Dem (John Pugh is retiring) - they’ll be female.

The same is true in many of our top 20 target seats, including places like Lewes (Kelly-Marie Blundell), Yeovil (Daisy Benson), Thornbury and Yate (Clare Young), and Sutton and Cheam (Amna Ahmad). There was air punching in Lib Dem offices all over the country on Tuesday when it was announced Jo Swinson was standing again in East Dunbartonshire.

And while every current Lib Dem constituency MP will get showered with love and attention in the campaign, one will get rather more attention than most - it’s no coincidence that Tim Farron’s first stop of the campaign was in Richmond Park, standing side by side with Sarah Olney.

How so?

Because the party membership took a long look at itself after the 2015 election - and a rather longer look at the eight white, middle-aged middle class men (sorry chaps) who now formed the Parliamentary party and said - "we’ve really got to sort this out".

And so after decades of prevarication, we put a policy in place to deliberately increase the diversity of candidates.

Quietly, over the last two years, the Liberal Democrats have been putting candidates into place in key target constituencies . There were more than 300 in total before this week’s general election call, and many of them have been there for a year or more. And they’ve been selected under new procedures adopted at Lib Dem Spring Conference in 2016, designed to deliberately promote the diversity of candidates in winnable seats

This includes mandating all-women shortlists when selecting candidates who are replacing sitting MPs, similar rules in our strongest electoral regions. In our top 10 per cent of constituencies, there is a requirement that at least two candidates are shortlisted from underrepresented groups on every list. We became the first party to reserve spaces on the shortlists of winnable seats for underrepresented candidates including women, BAME, LGBT+ and disabled candidates

It’s not going to be perfect - the hugely welcome return of Lib Dem grandees like Vince Cable, Ed Davey and Julian Huppert to their old stomping grounds will strengthen the party but not our gender imbalance. But excluding those former MPs coming back to the fray, every top 20 target constituency bar one has to date selected a female candidate.

Equality (together with liberty and community) is one of the three key values framed in the preamble to the Lib Dem constitution. It’s a relief that after this election, the Liberal Democratic party in the Commons will reflect that aspiration rather better than it has done in the past.

Richard Morris blogs at A View From Ham Common, which was named Best New Blog at the 2011 Lib Dem Conference

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