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Lack of women Lib Dem MPs 'frankly embarrassing' says Tim Farron

Published 07/02/2016

Tim Farron said it was important to do the right thing
Tim Farron said it was important to do the right thing

The fact the Liberal Democrats have no female MPs among its eight-strong rump in Parliament, is "frankly embarrassing", party leader Tim Farron has admitted.

Commenting on reports the party was considering having shortlists for seats of only ethnic minorities or only gay people or only disabled people, Mr Farron said it was important to make sure "you represent properly and reflect the diversity of the society we live in".

He told BBC One's The Andrew Marr Show: "The Liberal Democrat conference in March will be looking at a range of possibilities and it's all about trying to make sure that those people who represent us in the various parliaments and assemblies around the UK and in Europe reflect the diversity of the communities that are out there."

Mr Farron acknowledged every single current Lib Dem MP was a white male, adding: "I'm somebody who thinks you've got to do this in a liberal way, but I'm also somebody who says you can't turn your back on the fact that we've clearly not succeeded as a party, at the top at least, in reflecting that diversity. So it's good to look at those options."

Mr Farron said he was "very supportive of and determined" to get a much more diverse representation in the party, but stressed the party conference and members would make the decision, adding "setting a diktat is not the right way of doing these things".

The MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale cited a similar move in Canada.

He said: "I'm a liberal, but I think if there's inequality then you should step in and try and sort it out."

He added: "The fact that they're so under represented and that we have no women MPs amongst the eight that we have is something that I find, you know, frankly embarrassing, and it doesn't - it's not right.

"So it's important that we intervene and get things right, not to be able to make a point to other parties, but just to do the right thing."

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