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Lib Dem activists keep up pressure on sexism

9 March 2013

3:55 PM

9 March 2013

3:55 PM

The Lib Dem leadership has been trying its best this weekend to address the Lord Rennard allegations. I understand Tim Farron has been meeting activists to discuss any ongoing concerns. And the party also announced last night that it was creating a new group, Liberal Democrat Women, which, slightly confusingly, merges Women Lib Dems and the Campaign for Gender Balance.

Another group with a more imaginative name is Rock the Boat, set up by Lib Dem activist James Shaddock, as a way of pressuring the leadership to examine not just the Rennard allegations, but the wider culture in the party. It boasts around 300 members currently.

Female activists told Coffee House last night that they were frustrated by the way some of the rally speakers addressed the allegations. One said: ‘People were making noises of approval when they heard the speakers say that someone is innocent until proven guilty, but that misses the point about how the party is dealing with it.’

Another said they had been warned to expect questions about their plans for marriage and having a family if they wanted to run as a candidate. Activists don’t want the row over specific allegations about one parliamentarian to diver attention away from questions about wider sexism and women in the party. The Rock the Boat campaign will hold a meeting tomorrow to discuss how it can keep up the pressure once the party leaves Brighton.

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