Nick Clegg says the Liberal Democrats could introduce quotas to boost the number of the party’s female MPs if they fail to gain more at the next election…
Speaking on BBC3, Mr Clegg acknowledged that his party’s MPs were “not collectively representative enough of modern Britain”.
“If we don’t make real progress in having more women elected as Liberal Democrat MPs at the next election we might have to think of a one-off way of really cracking this problem and reserving some places for women in the future.”
Note the “if”. The party has done a pretty job in selecting women in very winnable seats where Lib Dem MPs are standing down both this time and last time. In 2010 that didn’t lead to a significant improvement in the Parliamentary Party’s gender balance. If in 2015 it doesn’t either, it’ll be very hard to argue plausibly that ‘just a bit more training and mentoring’ will ever work – and hence if it doesn’t work again in 2015 the choice will be between either taking other action or accepting that things aren’t going to change much.