Understandably overshadowed by the debate over the (lack of) diversity of the party’s MPs, the Liberal Democrat conference in York also adopted significant steps to improve the diversity of our local council base too. Its diversity has been better than that of the Parliamentary Party, but well short of good – and stalled without sign of long term progress for 25 years.
So I was closely involved in an amendment tabled in the name of ALDC which was drafted into the motion and so passed along with the rest of the motion.
Add Conference Notes (VIII): “The proportion of Liberal Democrat councillors who are female has stayed flat at around one third for 25 years”
After line 96, add: “D. Working in conjunction with ALDC, the 2020 Candidate Diversity Task Force shall undertake a project to encourage a move diverse local government base including identifying any barriers which exist for currently under-represented groups. It will also consider good practice from council groups across the country that more accurately reflect the diversity of their communities.”
Add Conference Recommends (7): “Ask ALDC to submit recommendations within twelve months to the three State Parties on measures that should be taken to ensure gender balance and diversity across both council groups and amongst selected council candidates.”
I view improving the diversity of our council base as very much as dual-purpose: important in its own right and also something which will help fix other diversity problems in the party too.
There is much work to be done following the new Conference Recommends (7) – which covers all diversity strands, not only gender.
But it is now work which can start with the help of a conference decision to propel it along.
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