Morning Call: pick of the papers

The ten must-read comment pieces from this morning's papers.

1. The Tory party's gone crazy over Europe, and it's Cameron's fault (Daily Telegraph)

Some may see a clever new strategy, but the simple truth is that No 10 has lost control, writes Benedict Brogan. 

2. The noise on immigration is drowning out real problems (Guardian)

Desperate to sound tough, politicians are in fact making it harder to improve the plight of domestic slaves in Britain, says Polly Toynbee.

3. Britons are lazy? Don’t let Boris get away with that (Independent)

It's not 'sloth' that ruined this country's economy, whatever Boris Johnson may say, but it is another of the Seven Deadly Sins, writes Owen Jones. So let’s aim fire at greed.

4. The Tories have become ungovernable (Financial Times)

Drama is giving way to farce, writes Janan Ganesh. The eurosceptic demands are now plain odd.

5. We need to frack, but we need wind power too (Times)

Environmentalists and climate-change doubters must both get real about our energy needs, says Will Straw.

6. Obama is right to stay out of Syria (Financial Times)

The president is taking a position – and it is not the easy option, says Gideon Rachman.

7. Two parties both riven by the same old splits (Times)

The Tories are being sucked into the whirlpool of Europe, but Labour’s division on the economy runs just as deep, writes Rachel Sylvester.

8. You can’t blame Brussels for Britain’s debts (Daily Telegraph)

Our liabilities are now the highest in Europe - and that's just the start of our problems, says Dominic Raab. 

9. This is one EU crisis that need not exist (Daily Mail)

David Cameron is making unnecessary trouble for himself by appearing to pick fights with his party, where no serious disagreement exists, says a Daily Mail editorial.

10. Oxford University won't take funding from tobacco companies. But Shell's OK (Guardian)

If scholars are prepared to take an ethical stance against money from tobacco companies, why won't they against Big Oil too, asks George Monbiot.

Getty
Show Hide image

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

0800 7318496