>Now that a decent interval has passed since John Barrett announced that he was standing down as MP for Edinburgh West, there will be no doubt be speculation as to who might succeed him as the Liberal Democrat candidate.
Ian Swanson had a couple of guesses in the Evening News, but they were both men. Why would he put two two senior male Lib Dem councillors (who, by the way I think are fabulous) in the frame and not suggest that Jenny Dawe or Marilyne McLaren might put herself forward? Another strong contender would be Siobhan Mathers, who stood for Edinburgh Central in 2007. I have absolutely no idea whether any of them would be interested, but they surely warrant a mention. Other good and credible potential women candidates in Edinburgh include Amy Rodger and Gillian Cole-Hamilton.
I have to say that the Scottish Liberal Democrats’ record on gender balance is pretty shocking – only two out of 16 MSPs and one out of 12 MPs are women. It’s a record that I’m not even going to attempt to defend. I would like to see that change and for Edinburgh West to select a woman from the strong field available.