Forum this motion is seeking support to explore the feasibility of lobbying for all Black shortlists to address the under-representation of Black people in the political arena. We need only to look around the room to become aware of the lack of racial diversity that exists.
In June 1987 the first Black Labour MPs were elected, Bernie Grant, Paul Boateng, Keith Vaz, and Diane Abbott as the first Black woman elected to Parliament.
However, the speed of progress has been very slow, It’s shameful that in 2017 our National Parliaments do not adequately reflect the diversity of our communities.
But now is the time to consider introducing all Black Shortlists in an attempt to increase diversity and representation in all UK Parliaments. In 1993 the Labour Party introduced a policy of all women shortlists to address the under representation of women in elected positions. This has had a clear impact for women, for example in Westminster, 45% of Labour Party MPs are women, compared to 21% conservative, likewise in Scotland the SNP has all women shortlists and 34% of their MPs are women. Although, all women shortlists have made it easier for women to be selected, but not for all women, because despite the shortlists – Black Women have not been recruited in significant numbers and the shortlist do not reflect all ethnicities.
We heard directly from Angela Rayner yesterday who was on an all-woman shortlist, and confirmed that all Women shortlists are an effective means of reducing barriers for women to stand as candidates in elections, so why not All Black Shortlists to achieve the same outcomes.
We have seen some small improvements from the last election in the number of diverse labour MP’s elected to parliament, Dave Prentis provided details yesterday, the number of Black MP’s has increased from 23 to 32, but this still remains persistently and disproportionately low and does not adequately represent our diverse communities.
Forum the NBMC understands how important it is having fair representation across the sector and to this end we welcome the action to work with the National Labour Link Forum to equalise this balance.
I move and please support