Harry Cole

Nick Clegg’s women problem

Nick Clegg's women problem
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Nick Clegg ain't done yet, and as if to prove how deadly serious he is about winning this election, the Deputy Prime Minister visited a hedgehog sanctuary on his first campaign stop. Probably his least prickly public encounter since 2010.

The Liberal Democrats have focussed their initial onslaught focusing on women, with Monday's Guardian reporting that it was 'his mission to win over female voters in a number of his party’s target constituencies':

'Party strategists believe that winning over the female vote will be crucial to their chances of success across a range of key battleground constituencies.'

All of which is a little embarrassing when you consider just how poor Clegg's party's record is when it comes to women. Not only do they already have the lowest percentage of female MPs of any of the major parties, that number could go down come polling day.

Five out of the party's seven female MPs are are in the party's dozen most marginal seats. Lorely Burt is defending a majority of 175 in Solihull and Annette Brooke just 269 in Mid Dorset. Tessa Munt has just 800 votes over the Tories in Wells and Jo Swinson's 2,184 in East Danbartonshire is firmly in the SNP's sights. Sarah Teather didn't bother to stick around to defend her slender majority in Brent.

At this rate, the only thing worse than the Lib Dem record on women will be their ethnic minority representation: set to remain at a solid zero.