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A diverse agenda

nick-clegg1Parliament is woefully unrepresentative of modern Britain and more needs to be done to make real change, writes Liberal Democrats leader Nick Clegg .

This is a crucial moment for our politics. After months of revelations over MPs abusing their expenses, trust in politicians is – understandably – at an all time low. In less than nine months the country will elect its next generation of MPs and they will face a huge task: winning people back.

But I genuinely believe that another Parliament that’s so dismally unrepresentative of modern Britain will be badly placed to do that. People want change. Part of that change must be making sure that all people whether they be Black or Asian are kept off the parliamentary benches. We will only restore faith in our politics if we can prove that it isn’t an exclusive club for an out-of-touch political elite that has for too long taken its position for granted. We need to make it accessible to all.

That’s a task I take enormously seriously. Since becoming leader nearly two years ago, I have initiated a range of schemes to make the Liberal Democrats more representative. Like diversity training for all the committees which select Parliamentary candidates, and the ‘New Generation Programme’, which provides mentoring and training for BAME candidates. Vince Cable, the Party’s Deputy Leader and our Shadow Chancellor also chairs the party’s Diversity Engagement Group which ensures that the diversity agenda is advanced across our whole party.

We need to change the way we treat running for Parliament in this country. Being a candidate is a public service, and that’s how it should be treated. Candidates need to get the same support they would receive at work, so that running an election campaign doesn’t remain a hobby for people who are wealthy enough to afford it.

Making the Liberal Democrats a party that can take pride in the way it reflects Britain is my priority. And all parties need to get behind transforming our politics so that no one is kept out of power because of their ethnicity. That’s not democracy. And it’s not good enough.



One Response

  1. Are you sure you mean “Black or Asian are kept off the parliamentary benches”? or is that a freudian slip!!

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