Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. You made me a Lord, Ed, but even I think it's time you grew up and became a real leader (Mail on Sunday)

People want to know what Labour is about, writes Maurice Glasman. It is time Ed Miliband got out of his political lay-by and told them.

It’s notable now how many advocates of immigration are on the right, while the left apologises for past mistakes, writes Matthew d'Ancona.

3. Slick marketing and hi-tech politics are leaving voters feeling cold (Observer)

Sophisticated electioneering, with its tailored and targeted messages, ignores the concerns of the wider electorate, writes Sonia Sodha.

4. Another hung parliament: A user's guide (Independent on Sunday)

Ed Balls should not be allowed in any future Lib-Lab negotiations, says John Rentoul.

5. Ed Miliband is Labour's Alex Ferguson and he needs to give any slacking ministers the hairdyer treatment (Sunday Mirror)

The Labour leader needs a good captain to ensure the team works together on the pitch, says John Prescott.

6. Egypt: we may despise the Muslim Brotherhood, but a coup is a coup (Observer)

Europe and the US need to accept that the Muslim Brotherhood may be foul, but it did not abolish democracy, writes Nick Cohen.

7. Stop swotting up, Ed - the test has begun and you're failing (Sunday Times)

The Labour leader needs to be shocked out of his placid belief that his political strategy is working out just fine, writes Jenni Russell.

8. So much migration puts Europe's dykes in danger of bursting (Independent on Sunday)

David Cameron plans to renegotiate the basic tenets of the EU, write David Goodhart and Lodewijk Asscher. He may find support in surprising quarters, including the Dutch liberal left.

9. A lion among men, felled by a coward’s rifle (Sunday Times)

Mick Deane was a calm, clever, humorous and reassuring presence in every situation, writes Adam Boulton.

10. Why Labour’s downfall is not all good news (Sunday Telegraph)

Ed Miliband has an obligation to the country to pull his party into some sort of plausible shape, says Janet Daley.

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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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