As Labour attacks Sajid Javid’s appointment, new figures reveal how the party is failing on ethnic minority representation

by Atul Hatwal

It’s not been a good twenty-four hours for Labour on diversity.

First, there was the ludicrous attack on the appointment of Sajid Javid to the equalities brief because he was a man, totally ignoring the fact he is the first British Asian to become a secretary of state as well as being someone who comes from a genuinely working class background.

Then there was the attack on him for having the temerity to be successful , so acutely dissected by Dan Hodges over at the Telegraph.

Now Uncut can reveal that Labour is failing on ethnic minority representation.

An analysis of selections in Labour’s 106 parliamentary target seats, and the 12 seats where current Labour MPs are standing down reveals that the party has managed to select just 13 candidates from minority backgrounds out of a total of 118 contests.

This means just 11% of Labour’s candidates in winnable seats will be from black and minority ethnic communities, compared to an ethnic minority population in the UK of 18% at the time of the 2011 census.

By the time of the next election, as the UK’s minority population approaches 20%, Labour’s best case scenario in the new intake will be non-white representation of just over 10%.

This is in stark contrast to the party’s performance in selecting women where shortlists have helped guarantee that 50% of all winnable seats will have female candidates.

Labour’s immediate response yesterday to Sajid Javid’s appointment was to complain that he wasn’t a woman. This mindset, where women seem to be considered more equal than ethnic minorities, clearly extends through the party into local selections.

Its a sad testament to the poverty of minority representation in the parliamentary Labour party that such a poor performance in selecting new candidates is still better than the current position where just 6% of the PLP is from a minority.

How the party addresses this abject failing is difficult: quotas are rife with problems, not least their political manipulation by those in control of which seats are designated as an exclusive short list.

However, what is undeniable is that Labour has a major problem.

Perhaps a little more attention to the party’s own record on minority representation and less flailing about to attack Sajid Javid is in order.

Atul Hatwal is editor of Uncut

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11 Responses to “As Labour attacks Sajid Javid’s appointment, new figures reveal how the party is failing on ethnic minority representation”

  1. swatantra says:

    His background is the Treasury and we all know that means they are mean with money. So expect more cuts in the Arts. Thats where the attacks should be directed.

  2. steve says:

    As Dan Hodges correctly observes, Labour is as much a party of privilege as the Tories.

    The only alternative to the LibLabCon elite is UKIP.

  3. Tafia says:

    Is a red herring this minority representation thing. You are never ever going to have proper representation (or even close to it) by virtue of the fact that there are simply to many minorities once you start throwing in sexuality, gender, age, religion, colour, disability, education etc etc. For instance, given the percentage of graduate MPs to non-graduate, then surely graduates are over-represented.

    The best you will ever get is broadly representative. If you try for more than that you will end up chasing your head up your own arse.

  4. Robert says:

    I am old enough to remember when there were no ethnic minority MPs and there was some doubt whether white people would vote for a candidate from an ethnic minority. The number of women MPs has also increased dramatically and being gay or lesbian does not seem to harm a political career. In other words, we have made a lot of progress and that includes an Asian man from a working class background joining the Cabinet.

  5. Jon says:

    would A msulim be able to give credit to the Arts, as Islam is not known for being particualry Pro Gay or women

  6. Tafia says:

    Robert, when Phil Woolas met a sticky end in Oldham East & Saddleworth, the best candidate to replace him was a highly thought of local buy called Riaz Ahmed – former deputy Mayor, long term councillor, even his father had been a Japanese POW. But a ‘whispering campaign’ was mounted against him that his accent would put white voters off and as a result Debbie Abrahams beat him.

    Such goings on in Labour? Never. (PMSL)

  7. Vern says:

    Its about having the right people to do the job isn’t it? And not simply satisfying the fields of a spread sheet that seeks to ensure diversity.
    With Labour I can almost believe that white British males might be pushed to the back of the queue so they can achieve their statistical representation.
    We also have to appreciate that life in politics looks like a dreadful vocation for one to aspire to. It takes a certain type of person and there aren’t many that stand out as being particularly decent types.

  8. swatantra says:

    Jon, a tour around the British Museum would show you how much Islamic Art developed and influenced Western Art. The same would go for Science and Maths.
    Their only failing was the development of religious thoughts and ideas, which remain firmly stuck in the middle ages.

  9. Robert says:

    Tafia, I agree. Acknowledging that we have made progress does not mean that everything is perfect. There are still racist idiots even in the Labour Party.

  10. Dave Roberts says:

    You are then back to imposing shortlists from ethnic minorities which is illegal. It is not just a myth but a lie to claim that everything in society has to reflect its racial makeup. Some groups simply do not engage in politics. Turks abound in north London but there are hardly any involved in politics and that goes for Chinese and Vietnamese as well.

    Bangladeshis and Pakistanis are disproportionately over represented and so would need to be excluded from politics if quotas were to be brought in, which they won’t be. The most under represented group in this country in every sphere of life are white working class women, but Labour seems to ignore them completely.

  11. Ex Labour says:

    Labour are uttlerly pathetic in attacking Javid. Son of penniless immigrant made good. But why did he not want to join the Labour party ? Answers on a postcard to Labour HQ.

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