I'm tired of waiting, so I'm taking action on gender balance

I’m frustrated at the lack of progress we have made as a Party towards gender balance.

On Saturday I met with Scottish Liberal Democrat Women to outline my plan and the role I'm going to take in order to tackle this head on.

Twenty years ago our party agreed in the Constitutional Convention to work towards a gender balance in our Scottish Parliamentary representation. Yet, since the Scottish Parliament was created, we have elected no more than two women at the four elections to Holyrood. 

Despite an abundance of talented women, we have been unable to put enough in positions to get elected. It is difficult to make the case for opportunity for everyone when only one of our parliamentarians is a woman.

I am determined to finally deliver the commitment made to the Constitutional Convention 

I have lost patience with the current system and its inability to ensure proper representation of women.  It is now time to take the necessary action to deliver change.

A fresh start for the Liberal Democrats requires us to change. We need to be more reflective of the people we seek to represent and to perform at our best we need to deploy our best people to make the case for our cause.

That is why I will lead a working group to finalise proposals to put to our Spring Conference that will break down those barriers and increase the representation of women Liberal Democrats in Parliament.

The working group will explore all options to achieve this, including all women shortlists, making gender a part of the party’s electoral strategy and quota systems.

It is my intention that the new arrangements will be in place for the European Election in 2019 and will also apply to the 2020 General Election and 2021 Scottish Parliamentary Election.

If you'd like to share your views on Willie's plan, you can do that here: scotlibdems.org.uk/balance

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