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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.

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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. 

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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.

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... Read more

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:

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With Labour Conference coming up at the end of the month, we thought we'd put in one easy place all the events that we're interested in going to. Hope to see you there!

If there's anything that we've missed or there's an event that you're looking forward to then tell us! Email at: LabourBAME@gmail.com

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