Labour to appoint diversity advisor to promote women and monority candidates in politics
Britain ranks 20th out of 38 of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries in terms of female representation in parliament
Angela Rayner, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, visits the Turntable Cafe in the city centre on April 12, 2023 in Huddersfield, England. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
LABOUR will appoint an external advisor to encourage women, ethnic minorities and those from a working-class background to stand for office at all levels and parties, The Guardian reported.
The diversity tsar will collaborate with deputy Labour leader, Angela Rayner, in the Cabinet Office to devise a comprehensive action plan aimed at dismantling barriers, in addition to working closely with the Electoral Commission, the report added.
According to the report, the party’s move is to ensure politicians are no longer removed from, or unable to personally understand, the impact of the policies they enact.
The advisor will introduce recommendations aimed at eliminating obstacles that hinder individuals from underrepresented groups who aspire to pursue political candidacy.
Labour emphasised that the advisor’s role extends beyond enhancing representation within the party. It already runs internal candidate mentoring initiatives like the Bernie Grant leadership and Jo Cox women in leadership programmes effectively tackling representation gaps.
“Representation shapes which issues get debated in the first place and what is up for decision. You might learn by asking or listening, but the lived experience adds a different quality – and gives a different perspective. Lived experience brings its own expertise,” Rayner was quoted as saying by The Guardian.
“There’s more than a hint of snobbery in the argument that more authenticity and more diversity in politics is a recipe for disaster. The past decade will tell you that the playing fields of Eton education are no guarantee of good government.”She was the first woman to represent the constituency of Ashton-under-Lyne in its 180-year history.
Rayner emphasised the pressing need to address the representation gap in politics, stating that our current political landscape is disconnected from the realities of society. She stressed the importance of bridging this gap in terms of gender, class, and ethnicity, highlighting that it is a personal priority for her.
She also acknowledged her own experiences with misogyny and shared that the messages she has received from women have highlighted the widespread nature of such experiences, both within Westminster and across workplaces throughout the country.
She expressed concern that women with similar backgrounds may be discouraged from pursuing a career in public life, emphasising the necessity of having more individuals from diverse backgrounds like hers actively involved in politics.
Recently, Samuel Kasumu, a former Tory London mayoral hopeful, revealed that he was excluded from the longlist due to being perceived as an ‘outsider’.
“So all the indication was that the reason why they didn’t want me in the room was because I represented something that perhaps they were slightly uncomfortable with,” he told the BBC.
According to the report, Labour members have expressed apprehension over the party’s alleged marginalisation of individuals who have firsthand experience in confronting issues such as anti-black racism, Islamophobia, misogyny, and classism due to their perceived alignment with the left wing of the party.
It is reported that Labour is open to the idea of implementing a ‘right to run’ legislation, mirroring the concept of jury service, which would mandate employers to grant individuals time off from work to pursue political candidacy.