Firstly, let me congratulate the 12(!) Liberal Democrat MPs who will be representing us in this Parliament, however long the term may be. It was a huge achievement in the current political climate for the party to increase its number of MPs by 50% on the previous General Election, and it’s testament to the hard work of all the candidates, staff and activists who put so much time and energy into this snap election.
I want to start this blog, though, by marking my genuine delight at seeing four women in that number. I know I wasn’t alone in my regret that after the party was decimated in the 2015 General Election, we were left with no female MPs in Westminster. It was a concern to me that a party so diverse and determined to fight for equal rights was represented solely by white male MPs. I was delighted when Sarah Olney was elected in Richmond’s by-election, and extremely saddened to see her defeated by just 45 votes last week, but 1 MP out of 9 was nowhere near enough.
So for me, the most exciting part of our party’s success last Friday was to see Layla Moran (Oxford West and Abingdon), Wera Hobhouse (Bath), Jo Swinson (East Dunbartonshire) and Christine Jardine (Edinburgh West) elected to Parliament. We’re not yet there when it comes to fully representing the diversity of our party and country (we need to work hard to get more BAME members of the party standing for election, for a start), but it’s a fantastic starting point for us to build on going forward.
*Header image courtesy of the Liberal Democrats