In the last parliament we didn’t have any women in our parliamentary party and we didn’t feel it was right to elect a deputy in those circumstances.
But I want to revive the role as it gives the party another powerful voice and has helped give prominence to many of our notable MPs, including Ming Campbell, Simon Hughes and Vince Cable.
Now a third of our parliamentary party is female and we have our most diverse group of MPs ever, I feel our MPs form a more representative group to elect a deputy leader.
There is still much more work needed to make ourselves more like the nation we seek to represent, but this is a really positive time for our party after increasing our number of MPs by 50%.
The position will be elected by Liberal Democrat MPs and will be announced before the end of the month.
The process for the election is as follows:
- Nominations were opened following a meeting of the parliamentary party on Monday 12 June.
- All MPs are eligible for the position and any MP wanting to put themselves forward for the position needs to secure the support of a proposer and seconder.
- Deadline for applications is 5pm on Tuesday 20 June.
- If there is only one candidate they will be formally appointed to the position on Tuesday 20 June.
- If there are two or more candidates then a hustings will take place at the parliamentary party meeting on Tuesday 27 June. Following the hustings the election will be decided through a secret ballot of MPs using the single transferable vote.
- Ben Stoneham, our Lords Chief Whip, will act as returning officer.