Cameron promises all-women shortlists

By Ian Dunt

David Cameron has promised to introduce all-women shortlists at the next general election.

The Tory leader told the Speaker’s conference on diversity on Westminster that the party would soon enter what he called its ‘by-election procedure’.

This would allow it to require local parties to adopt all-women shortlists.

Mr Cameron suggested he would make the move cautiously, by telling MPs he preferred non-authoritarian measures to improve diversity in the party, but he admitted he had not made enough progress in changing the make-up of the parliamentary party.

“It’s a real problem for parliament and it’s been an even greater problem for my party and one that I desperately want to address and have tried to address,” he said.

Local parties were disposed to “pick white men – people like me,” he admitted.

But Mr Cameron voiced his faith in Baroness Warsi, the first Muslim woman on any British frontbench political team, and suggested he was putting her up for the BNP Question Time on Thursday because of her talents and not her brief or her background.

Gordon Brown and Nick Clegg both also gave evidence to the conference.