The doubters have been proved wrong. Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP has been a great success so far, having secured regional growth fund money, won approval for a major enterprise zone and developed the exciting “Creative City” initiative.
One advantage it enjoys is the quality of its board members. The LEP is led by a heavyweight team from the top levels of business.
And John Lewis boss Andy Street has proved to be an inspired choice of chairman who is making an impressive and important contribution to the region.
It would be a huge shame if this good work was undermined by a failure to appoint a woman to the board. Without one, the Government refuses to recognise the LEP board.
And while Ministers are clearly willing to work with the LEP to an extent, Business Minister Mark Prisk has made it clear they won’t turn a blind eye forever.
Positive discrimination is a controversial topic, and we would tend to think that the best person for a job should always be appointed – even if they happen to be white, male, middle aged, middle class, and heterosexual.
But can it really be true that not one businesswoman in the LEP region stands out as deserving a seat on the board? Of course not.