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John Pugh MP writes.. Diversity now: Words into deeds

April 28, 2017 1:23 PM

mp john pugh8 Lib Dem MPs were elected in 2015 - all male, all white and myself the oldest. This was despite the party having put a lot of effort and energy behind some absolutely superb female candidates in seats where sitting MPs had stood down.

So monochrome were we until the Richmond by election that when we were caricatured as pale, male and stale I felt almost apologetic at being elected. However it wasn't really our fault; it wasn't the party's fault. It was all down to an electorate spooked by the possibility of a Miliband/SNP government ….oh and a little bit of mishandling coalition.

However, the party pressed on with all-women short lists- particularly when any of the 8 stood down. It was contentious and some contend it still but with the battle ahead there are better things to do.

Those who fought for AWS and fought with passion need to turn that passion into meaningful action- not on the conference floor not in some committee but where it matters- in the general election.

My successor Sue McGuire the only woman defending a Lib Dem seat held by an incumbent man.

In Southport we are all backing Sue with all our resources - including both her male predecessors- myself and Lord Fearn.

What we need is for all those who want a more diverse parliamentary party to help us.

We do not want and we cannot afford to have Sue endure the dreadful disappointment that so many brilliant female candidates suffered in held seats.

If everyone who backed AWS at conference, if everyone who care about diversity in our party made a few calls for Sue - which you can do here or by volunteering via mcguire4southport@gmail.com. If everyone in hailing distance made a visit to Southport -35 Shakespeare St ,PR8 5AB at least once…. if anyone free next Saturday comes to our next action day (Tel 01704533555) it will make an impact, a real time effect.

We do not want to re-visit 2015 in any other place. Nothing changes through conference motions; nothing changes through worthy task force deliberations. Something changes when Southport gets its first ever female MP and you, dear reader, can be part of that. Incidentally even if you were agin' AWS come anyway. What the hell- Sue's a Liberal !

* John Pugh is the MP for Southport and is Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Education Spokesperson.