Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Miliband might be on the rack, but his election’s far from ruined (Daily Telegraph)

Getting the hairdryer treatment from his critics could be just what the Labour leader needed, says Mary Riddell.

2. The Muslim Brotherhood will not turn to violence to fight the coup in Egypt (Guardian)

We are committed to peaceful protests but the world must pay attention to the human rights abuses and help us, writes Muhammad al-Baltaji.

3. Has the Fed given up on US jobless? (Financial Times)

The costs of unemployment persisting are vast; the costs of pushing too far to cut it are small, says Adam Posen.

4. Tax the empty London homes of the global rich (Times)

Properties are not safe-deposit boxes, writes Emma Duncan. People must live in them to keep the capital thriving.

5. So the innocent have nothing to fear? After Miranda, we know where this leads (Guardian)

The destructive power of state snooping is on display for all to see, writes Simon Jenkins. The press must not yield to this intimidation.

6. Ed Miliband is a pale shadow of Tony Blair (Times)

Parties can only escape the hell of opposition if they act quickly to address their political weaknesses, writes Paul Goodman.

7. Hung parliaments: better luck next time (Guardian)

The Conservative Party is sensibly holding a quiet debate about how to make a coalition more effective in future, says a Guardian editorial.

8. Why I risked arrest to protest against fracking (Independent)

Ministers are ignoring analysis that undermines the myth it will lower fuel bills, writes Caroline Lucas. 

9. Are David Miranda and Caroline Lucas victims or criminals? (Daily Telegraph)

The detention of a journalist’s partner and a Green MP reopen the debate over state power, writes Dominic Raab. 

10. Huge bonuses are more to do with power than merit (Independent)

Male managers tend to give others in the boys’ club large rewards, writes Ben Chu.

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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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