BAME people make up 40% of London's population but just a quarter of its Labour MPs
Many years ago, I took part in a regional Show Jumping competition and despite many hurdles, I managed to finish third.
Prizes for the winners were awarded by a crown prince in a ceremony following the competition.
Now in my middle age, I should be proudly displaying the trophy in a prominent place in my home as a reminder of a younger version of me.
Today, I have no prize to display for my effort, only the memory. This is because the competition was held in a country were outsiders, like me, and other minorities are usually relegated to the background or removed out of the picture.
In my case, I was relegated to the fourth place to ensure that I didn’t go on stage to collect a trophy.
I remember the anger on the face of my otherwise calm Scottish trainer when he found out that I, as a foreigner, could not win the third-place prize and it had to be awarded to a national.
Growing up in Saudi Arabia, this was not the only time that I have experienced the effect of being an outsider to otherwise a homogeneous group.
Even in school publications and during school events that were attended by senior officials, foreign children were either asked to dress like Saudis or were removed from the event, especially, if they didn’t look or sound Saudis. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen here in my adopted home, the UK.
In Vauxhall, the Labour Party will soon select a prospective candidate to stand in the next election as our long serving and hardworking MP Kate Hoey will not be standing again.
At this very moment where the Labour party is reconnecting with its core base of supporters; I feel it is time for party to ask to what degree it reflects its voters, not just in political views but also in diversity.
Vauxhall constituency covers parts of Brixton, Kennington, Larkhall, Ferndale and other neighbourhoods; some of the most diverse parts of London; an area that has been home, for many decades, to large BAME communities.
Despite this Vauxhall has never been represented by a member of parliament from BAME communities. Kate’s retirement is an opportunity to change that; to help Labour reflects its electoral base.
It cannot be right that, for the party for the working man and woman, equality and social justice; just a quarter of its MPs are BAME in London, one of the most multicultural cities on earth.
While it is true that the party has achieved some success in increasing womens’ participation and their selection to elected positions. These limited successes were achieved not by chance or prayer but through a purposeful policy of gender-based shortlists.
Because of this policy, we now have many brilliant women MPs who are deservedly sitting in the House of Commons, influencing and devising, policies for the good of the nation.
It is time for Labour to take Kate’s stepping down as an opportunity by selecting a strong local BAME candidate for the next election.
I am advocating this because I want to see the Labour Party reflect its electoral base.
I wish to see the day that at least 50% of Labour MPs are of working-class background.
I wish to see the day the party is led by a women leader and at least half of its MPs are women.
Most of all, I wish to see the day that at least 40% of Labour London MPs are of Black and Ethnic Minority background.
I wish to see the day that every young Labour member will be confident that only their political judgement will be the sole criterion to be judged if they were to chose to stand for office.
Mo Goudah is the chair of Ferndale Ward Labour Party in Vauxhall
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