Tower Hamlets Labour Party can be proud of its record on diversity

This article is a response to a piece by Anwar Khan which appeared on Left Foot Forward on February 12.

Chris Weavers is chair of Tower Hamlets Labour Party

This article is a response to a piece by Anwar Khan which appeared on Left Foot Forward on February 12.

Tower Hamlets is an amazing place. A place where, over centuries, people have come from all over the UK and all over the world, seeking a better future for themselves and their families.

Today the growing membership of the Labour Party in the East End reflects the community we seek to serve with members originating from dozens of different countries around the world.

From elderly Jewish members who fled persecution in 1930s Central and Eastern Europe to newer arrivals from Bangladesh, Somalia, Nigeria and across the EU, all these members make our party stronger and better.

This diversity is reflected at every level of our local Party including in the candidates we have selected to contest the local elections this May. Of our 45 council candidates 27 are from BME communities.

These candidates were selected on merit and each is an excellent advocate for the Labour Party and for the ward they seek to represent. Collectively they represent the strongest group of candidates the Labour Party can offer the people of Tower Hamlets.

To serve as a Labour councillor or candidate is a great privilege and we have the very highest expectations of both in terms of the way in which they carry out their duties and in working as part of a local Labour team. Where councillors or candidates campaign or act against the Labour Party or the policy we collectively agree, we have taken prompt action, including rescinding Labour Party membership where necessary.

This action is always taken irrespective of ethnicity or any other similar factor and this will not change.

Suggestions such as those made recently on this site that those BME candidates selected are in any way less able because they don’t work in the City of London is not only grossly inaccurate it is deeply insulating to a group of people who are talented, effective and assertive. Each of these candidates has shown substantial commitment to the Labour Party and to our community, in some cases for decades.

We are standing more female BME candidates than ever before and a more diverse team than ever before and more than any other party.

Yet we must not be complacent, more remains to be done to engage those who have for too long been excluded from the local political sphere including women, particularly Muslim women and the Somali, Chinese and Vietnamese communities.

We constantly monitor and review our efforts to build a local party’s that is attractive to all regardless of race, gender, sexuality, age or faith and we welcome any individual or organisation who wants to constructively work with us to help us further improve and to build a better future.

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