Latest Stories

With just over a week to go before the leader of the Labour party is announced in Liverpool, we wrote to both candidates asking them questions that were of particular importance to the BAME community. Due to the length of both the candidates answers (which is greatly appreciated!), we've split the questions and answers into two parts. You can read part one here.

Don't forget that the deadline to vote for the Labour leadership is noon on Wednesday 21st September.

Jeremy_Corbyn_Leadership_2015.jpg

4. How would you help pull up BAME communities, specifically Muslim communities, from being at the bottom of the economic active population?

Owen Smith [OS]: Recent research has shown the additional disadvantage in employment and income experienced by Muslims. A recent report by the Women and Equalities Committees shows that Muslim women are the most disadvantaged and three times more likely to be unemployed jobseekers than women generally. My plans for fair employment will include banning exploitative zero hours contracts, introducing a modern Equal Pay Act, and wages councils in the care, hospitality and retail sectors, and a real living wage. All these policies will help close the BAME and gender pay gaps. And we also need to constantly tackle Islamophobia and discrimination in all its forms, to ensure that no one is held back from achieving their full potential in the workplace. 

Jeremy Corbyn [JC]: Britain is rightly proud of being one of the most diverse communities in the world. 

Our first priority will be education. Educations is the gateway to realising potential. My commitment to restore free education and Education Maintenance Allowance will help BAME communities to become economically active. Once in the job market we will ensure the practices in the public and private sector root out inequality in recruitment and in the work place. 

Muslim face unique disadvantages which we aim to urgently tackle in order to make equality of opportunity a reality for all BAME communities. We will ensure that the experience of BAME people are properly represented in Workplace 2020 and take forward measures such as implementing fair and transparent employment practices and explore further initiatives such as name blind recruitment practices to combat discriminatory recruitment practices which disproportionately impacts on BAME and Muslim individuals. 

We will utilise our £500 billion investment in infrastructure, backed by our publicly owned National Investment Bank and regional development banks, to ensure that women and BAME communities gain access to the high quality jobs of the future, while creating a million new jobs. 

We have also committed to policies that will end the scourge of low paid and insecure work, raising the statutory minimum wage, ending exploitative zero hours contracts, as well as strengthening employment and trade union rights for equality in the workplace and to tackle discrimination. 

Owen_Smith_Interview.jpg

5. How would you provide extra help for BAME women wishing to stand for election?

[OS]: I will continue to use the Future Candidates Programme, and work with groups like the Labour Women's Network and Fabian Women's Network, to provide support for BAME women standing for election. I know that the cost of standing for election can be a significant deterrent for many women, including from BAME backgrounds. We must find ways to make sure cost does not prevent candidates from coming forward. The NEC are looking at this issue and I look forward to seeing their recommendations, as action is urgently needed. 

[JC]: The increase in Labour membership over the past year provides a vast and diverse resource for our movement, however we cannot assume that this will translate into increased representation for traditionally underrepresented groups. 

The fact that 12% of Britons come from a BAME background, yet only 6.3% of MPs do is testament to the barriers people face. Women are also underrepresented across out society and in our democracy at all levels - and of course BAME women are particularly underrepresented. We need to challenge the barriers to this at ever level. 

To ensure greater representation of BAME women we need to bring about a cultural shift both inside and outside the Labour party. One of the points I have made at hustings is that we need to look at mechanisms to increase our diversity, be reflective of society as a whole and increase our representation of all women, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic, disabled and LGBT people. We have also committed to taking forward the recommendations of the Shami Chakrabarti report in ensuring that we are building an inclusive party that is welcoming to all. 

6. You've both proposed women's representation in the shadow cabinet. How would you encourage greater BAME representation?

[OS]: I want Parliament to be more reflective of the communities we seek to represent, and of the country as a whole. 

As Leader of the Labour Party, I'd work closely with BAME Labour and the NEC to help encourage and support greater representation of BAME people in Parliament. We need to encourage people to get more involved by standing for CLP officer positions, as well as for council and parliament. We also need to look outside our Party, working with community groups and trade unions to identify talented BAME campaigners and activists who could be future Labour members and representatives. Greater BAME representation in parliament will enable us to have a shadow cabinet that reflects the diversity of the country, and I am committed to achieving this. 

[JC]: As a party we must never go back to the all too recent situation of having an all-white front bench and a commitment to this principle should be a minimum requirement to stand as Labour leader. However, we cannot allow this limited and recent progress to satisfy us; the shadow cabinet still does not reflect the country it seeks to represent that his must be addressed. At the last shadow cabinet elections in 2010, only one BAME candidate was elected and only three candidates stood. To encourage this to change we must first address the number of BAME MPs. At the current rate it will take 100 years before BAME Parliamentarians reach a number that is reflective of society. We will initiate a review into the actions required to address BAME representation, considering all options. 

BAME Labour Leadership Questions - Part 2

With just over a week to go before the leader of the Labour party is announced in Liverpool, we wrote to both candidates asking them questions that were of particular...

With just over a week to go before the leader of the Labour party is announced in Liverpool, we wrote to both candidates asking them questions that were of particular importance to the BAME community. Due to the length of both the candidates answers (which is greatly appreciated!), we've split the questions and answers into two parts. You can read part two here.

Don't forget that the deadline to vote for the Labour leadership is noon on Wednesday 21st September.

JC_OS_1.jpg

1. Why do you think over a million BAME voters decide to vote Tory in the 2015 General Election?

Owen Smith [OS]: As a party we didn't do enough to show voters that we could be trusted to run the country. People lost faith in us, we were not strong enough in opposition and we lacked credibility. Meanwhile the Tories have worked hard in the last few years to remove their negative image with BAME voters. For example, we saw David Cameron as Prime Minister visit India three times before the general election last year. 

Voting patterns of BAME individuals have also changed over time, especially amongst second and third generations. I recently held a roundtable discussion to hear from BAME activists and community leaders about their concerns. They told me Labour has been too complacent, taking votes for granted in certain communities, and overlooking the fact that, people are moving away from us. We failed to show that the Labour party is ambitious for everyone, and is in tune with people's ambitions for themselves and for their families. 

We have to change the dialogue we have with BAME voters and that includes the party being more active in our engagement and recognising the individual needs and ambitions of voters from diverse communities. 

Jeremy Corbyn [JC]: According to the most authoritative studies of the 2016 General Election just over 65% of the BME electorate voted for Labour compared to just over 20% for the Tories. Whilst this was a small percentage decline for us from the 2010 election, as a party we mustn't be complacent and take one of the most loyal Labour communities for granted. 

Like many voters at the last election I think many from the BME community were looking for a radical alternative to the austerity mantra of the Tory party - for Labour to set out how they would be different and offer more. Simply we didn't convince enough voters across the country, irrespective of their race that we had the programme to make their lives better. 

Since 2015 when I was elected we have focused on the economic and social issues that sets out a clear alternative to the failed Conservative plan of cuts - cuts to education, cuts to the NHS, and cuts to social housing. These are the issues that face everyone, every community every day. 

So when we fight the Tories on their plans to introduce segregations and selection a the age of 11 we are fighting for each and every child. When we expose the Tories for their complete failure to support and fund the NHS that has resulted in your local hospital being in debt we do that for you and everyone who may need to use the NHS one day. 

JC_OS_2.jpg

2. Why should 2nd and 3rd generation people from minority groups support Labour?

[JC]: There's a very simple answer to this - We are the party of the many not the few. If you want to live in a fair country - be treated fairly and know future generations will be judged by the strength of their character not the colour of their skin, then you will vote Labour. 

Delivering a just and equal society will be central to our policies. We know that those from BAME communities have disproportionately lower income levels. The Tory cuts have hurt the poor and BAME communities. Report after report has shown that when it comes to the criminal justice system BAME people get longer sentences and are more likely to be stopped and searched. 

We have got to stop knowing these things to be true and start doing something about them. A Labour government is committed to delivering equality across all our public services. Our economic strategy will have fairness at it's heart. 

That's what everyone under a future Labour government will get. 

[OS]: I am offering radical, credible leadership so that Labour can offer strong opposition to Theresa May's Tories, and a serious chance of getting into Government again so that we can make real change for the people we all joined the Labour Party to represent that that includes BAME individuals. 

This country is more divided and more unequal than we have been for generations. A recent report released by EHRC shows there is a long way still to go. BAME groups still suffer disproportionately from educational underachievement, higher levels of unemployment, poverty and poor housing. Inequalities in health outcomes and educational attainment are still stark. We need a Government that takes these inequalities seriously, and also takes robust action to tackle them - only a Labour government can achieve that. My policies will tackle austerity and change the country for the better: a £200bn British New Deal to rebuild our public services and infrastructure; a real living wage; a 4% increase in NHS spending, funded by new taxes on the wealthiest; building 300,000 homes a year, half of them social homes and making the minimum wage a genuine living wage for all voters aged over 18.

Since the EU referendum, we have seen how racism has shot through the roof, and politicians have to take some responsibility. We mustn't forget the Islamophobic dog-whistle Tory campaign against Sadiq Khan, Theresa May's vans urging people to report on immigrants, or the vile UKIP 'Breaking Point' poster which demonised desperate refugees. As Leader of the Labour Party, I would take on those that spread hatred and seek to divide our communities. We need tougher enforcement of penalties for racially motivated crime. We also need to recognise the concerns the community has about Prevent, and redevelop an approach that is rooted in the community and community-led. 

JC_OS_3.jpg

3. How would you engage with BAME communities to get them more active within the party, rather than just securing bloc votes?

[OS]: Labour is the part of equality. However, there is more we must do to increase BAME representation in our party, so we look more like the country we seek to represent. 

Currently there are 23 BAME LAbour MPs, so far more needs to be done and the picture is even worse in local government where just 4% of local councillors across all the political parties are from an ethnic minority background.

As Labour Leader, I would work the BAME community, and with our MPs and CLPs to make sure more is done to support BAME members at all levels of the party. This means providing the encouragement, advice and training needed to build up experience and confidence within the Party. We need also to look outside of our Party, working with community groups and trade unions to identify campaigners and activists who could be future Labour members and representatives. We need much greater BAME representation to ensure our party reflects the diversity of the country Labour seeks to serve. 

We also need to ensure diversity in our staff team. As leader, I will carry out an audit to see how many BAME staff are employed directly by the Party. We should appoint a national BAME officer to work for the party. 

[JC]: Last week we launched a major consultation into how the party engages with it's membership, including how we can get greater involvement from BAME members. The findings and recommendations will be taken to the NEC and I hope will be fully implemented. 

With over 600,000 members, we have the largest membership of any political party in Europe. Our job as a party is to get every one of those members to play a full and active part. 

Part two will be available tomorrow. 

BAME Labour Leadership Questions - Part 1

With just over a week to go before the leader of the Labour party is announced in Liverpool, we wrote to both candidates asking them questions that were of particular...

Sadiq_Khan_Campaigns_Tooting_election_Candidate_sjPmpuHAKF5l.jpg

With the release of the boundary review yesterday, we've been looking at how the changes could potentially affect Labour BAME MPs.

The conclusion? Most of the 28 MPs are safe, with their constituency staying or their former seat forming a new seat without any other Labour MPs competing for the same area. 

A few BAME MPs are worth keeping an eye on. Chuka Umunna looks set to be selected for the new Streatham and Mitcham seat. However, his neighbour Siobhan McDonagh does not pass the 40% threshold to be automatically selected for a new seat. Although she is more likely to run for the new seat of Merton and Wimbledon Central, there is an outside chance she might run against Chuka. 

Theoretically, Virendra Sharma (Ealing Southall) and Seema Maholtra (Feltham and Heston) could run against each other for the new seat of Southall and Heston. However, it's far more likely for Seema to run for Feltham and Hounslow. 

There are however two BAME MPs that will have to fight for re-selection. Chi Onwurah (Newcastle upon Tyne Central) and Catherine McKinnell (Newcastle upon Tyne North West) will have to fight for the new seat of New Castle upon Tyne North West with both MPs passing the 40% threshold. 

Diane Abbott's seat of Hackney North and Stoke Newington will be split between the new constituency Finsbury Park & Stoke Newington and Hackney Central. While there's much hay about Diane Abbott going against Jeremy Corbyn for Finsbury Park & Stoke Newington, Diane doesn't meet the 40% threshold to automatically be selected for the seat.

Diane is far more likely to go for Hackney Central where she meets the criteria for re-selection. However, she'll be likely to run against Meg Hillier, the current Labour MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch.

For the full list of BAME Labour MPs and how the boundary changes could potentially affect them, scroll down. 

How the re-selection process works for Labour MPs

So how does the system work? Appendix 3 of the Labour Rulebook explains it all, but here's a rough summary. 

When more than 40% of people in an MP's old constituency transfer to a new seat, that MP gets reselected automatically in a trigger ballot.

That means Labour members in these areas won't get a vote to unseat their MP - but there's a catch.

If two Labour MPs have a 40% claim on a seat, which happens in several cases, they can both stand against each other in a vote by their new Constituency Labour Party (CLP)

There will be three options on the ballot - MP 1, MP 2, and an option to reject them both and have an open contest.

But the open contest must get 50% or more to pass. So if MP 1 gets 41%, and an open contest gets 45%, MP 1 will still get selected.

If an MP doesn't have a 40% claim on any seat, they are not automatically eligible. They'll have to apply to Labour's NEC for a legitimate claim on another seat or start their careers again.

Makes sense? Right, here are the list of BAME Labour MPs:

Lisa Nandy - Wigan

The seat of Wigan is unchanged from the boundary review.

Keith Vaz - Leicester East

The seat of Leicester East is unchanged from the boundary review.

Thangam Debonnaire - Bristol West

The seat of Bristol West loses the City of Bristol ward of Easton. Thanham Debonnaire passes the 40% threshold for selection with no other Labour MPs competing for selection.  

Kate Osamor - Edmonton

The seat of Edmonton gains the ward of Palmers Green from the current Enfield, Southgate constituency. Kate Osamor passes the 40% threshold for selection with no other Labour MPs competing for selection.

Rosena Allin-Khan - Tooting

The seat of Tooting gains the Merton borough ward of Graveney, (fun fact: there's an existing ward of Graveney in Tooting).  Rosena Allin-Khan passes the 40% threshold for selection with no other Labour MPs competing for selection

Mark Hendrick - Preston

The seat of Preston gains the other five wards in Preston. Mark Hendrick passes the 40% threshold for selection with no other Labour MPs competing for selection. 

David Lammy - Tottenham

The seat of Tottenham gains Stroud Green Ward. David Lammy passes the 40% threshold for selection with no other Labour MPs competing for selection.

Imran Hussain - Bradford East

Bradford East gains the City of Bradford ward of Manningham. Imran Hussain passes the 40% threshold for selection with no other Labour MPs competing for selection.

Naz Shah - Bradford West

Bradford West loses the City of Bradford ward of Manningham and gains the City of Bradford wards of Great Horton and Queensbury. Naz Shah passes the 40% threshold for selection with no other Labour MPs competing for selection.

Clive Lewis - Norwich South

Norwich South loses the City of Norwich ward of Wensum and gains the South Norfolk wards of Cringleford and Old Costessey. Clive Lewis passes the 40% threshold for selection with no other Labour MPs competing for selection.

Valerie Vaz - Walsall South

Walsall South will disappear with six of its wards going into a new constituency called Walsall Central and gain three wards from Walsall North constituency. Valerie Vaz passes the 40% threshold for selection with no other Labour MPs competing for selection.

Khalid Mahmood - Birmingham Perry Barr

Birmingham Perry Barr loses Oscott ward and gains the Birmingham city ward of Aston and the Sandwell borough ward of Newton. Khalid Mahmood passes the 40% threshold for selection with no other Labour MPs competing for selection.

Shabana Mahmood - Birmingham Ladywood

Birmingham Ladywood loses Aston ward and gains the Birmingham city ward of Tyburn and the Sandwell borough ward of Soho, and Victoria. Shabana Mahmood passes the 40% threshold for selection with no other Labour MPs competing for selection

Dawn Butler - Brent Central

Brent Central will disappear with eight of its wards going into a new constituency called Willesdon along with the Hammersmith borough wards of College Park and Old Oak, and Brondesbury Park. Dawn Butler passes the 40% threshold for selection for the new seat, with no other Labour MPs competing for selection.

Yasmin Qureshi - Bolton South East

Bolton South East will disappear with five of its wards going into a new constituency called Farnworth along with three wards from Bolton South East and Bury South constituencies. Yasmin Qureshi passes the 40% threshold for selections for the new seat, with no other Labour MPs competing for selection.

Tulip Siddiq - Hampstead and Kilburn

Hampstead and Kilburn will disappear with seven of its wards going into a new constituency called Hampstead and Golders Green along with the two wards from Finchley and Golders Green and Highgate ward from Holborn and St Pancras. Tulip Siddiq passes the 40% threshold for selection for the new seat, with no other Labour MPs competing for selection.

Rupa Huq - Ealing Central and Acton

Ealing Central and Acton will disappear with six of its wards going into a new constituency called Ealing Central and Shepherd's Bush along with three wards from the current Hammersmith constituency. Rupa Huq passes the 40% threshold for selection for the new seat with no other Labour MPs competing for selection.

Chuka Umunna - Streatham

Streatham will disappear with four of its wards going into a new constituency called Streatham and Mitcham along with three wards from the current Mitcham and Morden constituency and Norbury ward from Croydon North constituency. Chuka Umunna passes the 40% threshold for selection for the new seat, with 49% of the previous seat moving to the new seat.

However, neighbouring MP Siobhain McDonagh will lose the seat of Mitcham and Morden and does not pass the 40% threshold to automatically be selected for a new seat. She is more likely to run for the new seat of Merton and Wimbledon Central, but there is an outside possibility she could run against Chuka for the new Streatham and Mitcham seat.

Virendra Sharma - Ealing Southall

Ealing, Southall will disappear with four of its wards going into a new constituency called Southall and Heston along with four wards from Felton and Heston constituency. Virendra Sharma passes the 40% threshold for selection for the new seat with 57.7% of the previous seat moving to the new seat.

Potentially, Seema Maholtra could run against Virenda for Southall and Heston. However, Seema also passes the 40% threshold for the new seat of Feltham and Hounslow and is far more likely to run and win selection in that seat.

Seema Maholtra - Feltham and Heston

Feltham and Heston will disappear with six of its wards going into a new constituency called Feltham and Hounslow, along with three wards from the current Brentford and Isleworth constituency. Seema Maholtra passes the 40% threshold for selection for the new seat.

Chi Onwurah - Newcastle upon Tyne Central

Newcastle upon Tyne Central will disappear with four of its wards going into a new constituency called Newcastle upon Tyne North West, along with five wards from the Newcastle upon Tyne North constituency and Ponteland East and Stannington ward. Chi Onwurah passes the 40% threshold for selection for the new seat with 53.8% of the previous seat moving to the new seat.

However, Newcastle upon Tyne North constituency will also disappear with its Catherine McKinnell also passing the threshold for the new seat of Newcastle upon Tyne North West (57.5%). Unless there's an agreement between the two of them, there will be a straight contest between the two of them. 

Diane Abbott - Hackney North and Stoke Newington

Hackney North and Stoke Newington will disappear with the wards being split between the new constituencies of Finsbury Park and Stoke Newington, and Hackney Central. Diane Abbot does not meet the threshold to automatically be on the selection process for Finsbury Park & Stoke Newington (37.7%) so is unlikely to run against the other Labour candidate for that seat: Jeremy Corbyn.

However, Diane does meet the threshold to run for automatic selection in Hackney Central (68.6%). However, she will likely be running against Meg Hillier, the current Labour MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch

 

How the boundary review may affect Labour BAME MPs

With the release of the boundary review yesterday, we've been looking at how the changes could potentially affect Labour BAME MPs. The conclusion? Most of the 28 MPs are safe,...

More Stories >

The Labour Party will place cookies on your computer to help us make this website better.

Please read this to review the updates about which cookies we use and what information we collect on our site.

To find out more about these cookies, see our privacy notice. Use of this site confirms your acceptance of these cookies.