06:07 by Editor · 1 Post a comment on AAWR

Labour report backs all-black shortlists
Gaby Hinsliff,

White candidates should be barred from standing for Parliament in up to eight constituencies in order to get more black and Asian MPs elected, says a controversial report commissioned by Labour's deputy leader, Harriet Harman.

Positive discrimination is illegal in the UK, but the report concludes that, without a change in the law allowing parties to impose all-black shortlists, it would take more than 75 years for Britain's ethnic make-up to be fairly reflected at Westminster.

The findings come amid questions over Britain's failure to develop a home-grown equivalent of Barack Obama, the black presidential hopeful. Although there have been three black cabinet ministers since 1997 - Paul Boateng and Valerie Amos, both of whom have since moved on, and Baroness Scotland, the Attorney General - no politician of the stature of Obama, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice or her predecessor, Colin Powell, has emerged.

Harman is understood to be still considering the report's findings in detail, but has expressed personal support for a change.

Simon Woolley of Operation Black Vote and the author of the review, said talented candidates were not 'getting past go' at the moment. 'The change in the law is not a sledgehammer to crack a nut; it's not forcing parties to use all-black shortlists,' he said. 'But unless we take positive action measures we are not going to have a representative democracy for more than 75 years. It's not that we don't have Obamas, but we don't have the mechanisms for them to see the light of day.'

His report is understood to conclude that all-black shortlists would be needed for two decades, after which talented candidates could be expected to make it on their own. It identifies 100 constituencies with large ethnic minority communities as prime targets for shortlists, but concludes that positive discrimination would be needed in only four to eight of those seats for four elections in a row to ensure that the proportion of ethnic minority MPs matches the proportion in the population......Article conts (-)

Linked Story

Law change urged so Labour can have all-black shortlists
Vikram Dodd

· Push to increase number of black and Asian MPs
· Chair of party's ethnic forum to introduce bill

The head of Labour's efforts to increase its ethnic minority MPs says the party is failing and wants the law changed to have all-black shortlists.

So far Labour has selected only one new ethnic minority candidate in a seat it is likely to win at the next general election, despite promises to make the parliamentary party look like the country it serves.

Keith Vaz, who chairs Labour's ethnic minority forum, says that 20 years after he was elected as one of the first four ethnic minority MPs of the modern era, the party is still failing. Mr Vaz, who also sits on Labour's ruling national executive committee, says he will introduce a new bill so all-black shortlists of candidates can be imposed on constituencies.

Such positive discrimination would be illegal, but Labour has already changed the law to allow all-women shortlists.

An internal Labour list of new candidates for the next general election, seen by the Guardian, shows that Asian and black candidates have been chosen in seats they have little or no hope of winning.

Hardyal Dhindsa was picked to fight Mid Derbyshire, a new seat created by boundary changes which is expected to go Tory. The party has chosen Rushanara Ali in London's Bethnal Green and Bow, which it lost in 2005 to George Galloway's Respect party. Yasmin Qureshi has been selected in Bolton South East and is currently the best hope of adding to Labour's ethnic minority MPs, with half of the candidates selected and an election possible this autumn. At a hustings held in May in Leicester for Labour's leadership, Gordon Brown said it was "wrong" the party did not have more ethnic minority MPs.

Mr Vaz, the former Europe minister, said a bill allowing all-black shortlists was needed: "It's the only way we're going to increase representation. The fact is the party needs to do more. We have to ensure we get more black and Asian MPs into parliament at the next election. That means we have to positively discriminate in favour and have all ethnic minority shortlists. I think all three parties have failed.".....Article conts (-)

Related Posts by Categories

Post a comment on AAWR

1 Responses to " "
kerdasi amaq said...
7 March 2008 at 15:47

Huh, they only want Labour darkies elected to parliament. What would they think of non-Labour darkies getting in?

Post a Comment

We welcome contributions from all sides of the debate, at AAWR comment is free, AAWR may edit and/or delete your comments if abusive, threatening, illegal or libellous according to our understanding of, no emails will be published. Your comments may be published on other nationalist media sites worldwide.