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Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Despite the Nigel Evans trial, the wrongly accused are not the main victims in rape cases (Guardian)

Yes the innocent MP suffered, but we must not go back to the Jimmy Savile era and ignore those who've been sexually abused, says Owen Jones.

2. Ed’s big mistake was his break with the past (Times)

Great things happened in the Blair and Brown years, writes John McTernan. Taking pride in those successes would give Labour a bit of swagger.

3. Banks fiddled while Rome burned: how to predict the next global financial crisis (Guardian)

Amid signs of another asset bubble, and as memories of the last crisis fade, we might be seeing the beginnings of the next crash, writes Larry Elliott. 

4. The Lib Dems are a Goldilocks party or they are nothing (Times)

‘Thatcherism plus immigration’ will never be a vote-winner, says Stephen Tall. 

5. This could be when Greece defaults (Financial Times)

It not in recession nor is it recovering, writes Wolfgang Münchau. It has collapsed. But there is another story.

6. Incentives to mitigate climate change are not in vain (Independent)

The latest IPCC report gives reasons to believe that climate change can be tackled, says an Independent editorial. 

7. Labour must be more pro-business (Financial Times)

The electoral clock is ticking and it needs to go further and faster, writes Alan Milburn.

8. Tory-led coalition should pay high price for turning dream of owning own home into a nightmare (Daily Mirror)

In building his so-called recovery on the quicksands of soaring house prices and debt, George Osborne prices Generation Rent out of buying a roof over their head, writes Kevin Maguire. 

9. Britain's economy needs more than just growth (Guardian)

The positive GDP figures are well timed for the 2015 election, but inequality in education will hold us back in the long term, warns Chris Huhne. 

10. A welcome plan to ease the pressure on hospitals (Daily Telegraph)

The only question, as the pressures on the NHS mount, is whether it will be anywhere near enough, says a Telegraph editorial. 

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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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