Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg has written to Keith Vaz supporting his 10 Minute Rule Bill to allow for the creation of shortlists on the grounds of ethnicity in the selection of parliamentary candidates.
He has also said that the Liberal Democrats may have to consider all-minority shortlists in the future if the party cannot increase the number of MPs from ethnic minorities.
Commenting, Nick Clegg said:
"We need urgent action to tackle the woeful under-representation of Britain’s ethnic minorities in Parliament. All political parties are letting Britain down. If we want to represent modern Britain, modern Britain must be represented in us.
"Legislating to allow all-minority shortlists is a crucial step, which should be used as a backstop to force parties to act now. We can no longer tolerate a political system that does not represent Britain as a whole.
"The Liberal Democrats have taken a number of steps to boost ethnic representation in our ranks: the creation of a diversity fund; the employment of dedicated staff to increase candidate diversity; and plans to establish a Leadership Academy to give targeted assistance to candidates. But we need to go further, faster.
"That is why I believe, if existing and planned resources fail to make the difference in the coming years, the Liberal Democrats will be duty bound to consider using the powers in this proposed Bill."
Of course what Clegg is proposing is illegal currently under English law and would be blocked by European law. So this is the usual cynicism then.