Sajid Javid speaks at the World Islamic Economic Forum at ExCel on October 30, 2013 in London. Photograph: Getty Images.
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Sajid Javid replaces Maria Miller as Culture Secretary

Osborne ally becomes the first 2010 Tory to enter the cabinet as Nicky Morgan is named women's minister. 

David Cameron took almost all of Westminster by surprise when he announced on Twitter that Sajid Javid, a key ally of George Osborne, would replace Maria Miller as culture secretary (becoming the first of the 2010 Tory intake to enter the cabinet). Most had bet on another woman taking her place, with Esther McVey, Nicky Morgan and Liz Truss among the frontrunners. 

But all become clear minutes later when Cameron announced that Nicky Morgan, currently the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, would take over from Javid as Financial Secretary and serve as minister for women, attending cabinet in that capacity. By promoting Morgan to the cabinet, Cameron has ensured that the number of women doesn't fall below the already lamentable level of five but Javid's ascension to Culture Secretary means there are now just three full members of the cabinet who are female (Theresa May, Justine Greening and Theresa Villiers) and not a single mother.

But in appointing Javid, the PM has wisely rewarded one of the brightest of the 2010 Tory intake (he became a vice president at Chase Manhattan at 25) and gone some way to addressing the Tories' ethnic minority problem. Javid, the son of a Pakistani bus driver, has previously urged Cameron to addresss the toxic legacy of Enoch Powell's "rivers of blood" speech, calling for the PM to say Powell "doesn’t represent what the Conservative Party is today in any way and to set out what the Conservative Party actually is when it comes to race relations, multiculturalism and so forth"

It's also worth noting that Javid has taken over the equalities brief from Miller. Morgan's opposition to equal marriage (she voted against it last year) was almost certainly a factor in the decision not to give her the job. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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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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