Tue, 16 Aug 2011
The Candidate Leadership Programme is designed specifically to identify, develop and support some of the best candidates from under-represented groups within the Party.
The Programme contains 40 talented, motivated individuals who can demonstrate the combination of passion, drive and commitment that it takes to win a Parliamentary seat in the next General Election.
More than two-thirds of participants are female and a third are from BME backgrounds. Furthermore, a significant number of participants are disabled, openly LGBT, under 30 years old and/or from a lower socio-economic background.
Commenting, Nick Clegg said
“The Leadership Programme is now ready to start changing the face of the Liberal Democrats. For too long, our party in Westminster has been too male and too pale.
“If we want to represent all of the country then we must have all of the country represented in us. That is why the Leadership Programme has sought out talented Liberal Democrats from across the country to ensure that over the coming years we will together change the makeup of the party.
“I know this excellent Leadership Programme will support them as they seek selection for a seat all the way until they sit in the House of Commons. We will be hearing a lot more from them in the months and years to come.”
‘I believe that the Leadership Programme is an important step towards increasing the diversity of our Parliamentary Party. Having been a target seat candidate myself, I know that this level of support is invaluable when it comes to getting selected and elected. We have attracted some of the best potential candidates and invest significantly in their personal and political development from now all the way to the General Election.’
‘During my campaign to become Party President, I made it clear that our lack of women MPs, MPs from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, and MPs with disabilities is completely unacceptable. I pledged to make diversity a key priority, and commit personal time and energy in this area of work. I asked Baroness Brinton to oversee a review of how we could increase the diversity of our Parliamentary candidates, giving those from under-represented groups the best possible opportunity to succeed. This Leadership Programme is a direct result of that process - I welcome it wholeheartedly.’
‘The Leadership Programme is a fantastic initiative which targets the right support at the right people. I was proud to move the motion at Spring Conference in Sheffield which led to it’s creation, and the support for this Programme from all parts of the Party was overwhelming!’