Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Piara Khabra and Ealing Southall

Very sad news that Piara Khabra has passed away. With him already having announced that he was standing down at the next election, Ealing Southall had already started the process to select his replacement and had opted for an all woman shortlist. This will inevitably now be a truncated process with the by-election pending.

Hopefully the Tories and Lib Dems will respect the convention that campaigning does not start until after the funeral, this will be a hard fought by-election but now is not the time for speculation on electoral fortunes in this seat.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

As each hour that passes more and more people are saying as this is a by election the Labour HQ will not impose an all women short list. A decision could come as early as this weekend (Sunday).

Some of the facts set out in the briefing prepared by the Sikh Federation (UK) that was sent to Labour’s NEC early this year included:

There is a target for women representation of 40% of all Labour MPs there is no target for ethnic minority representation despite the extremely low numbers in the House of Commons.

Is the absence of a target for ethnic minority representation by the Labour Party defensible?

The NEC was advised the greater priority was to address the large shortfall of ethnic minority MPs and pointed out the London Region of Labour had already achieved women representation of 37.6%.

It was also pointed out the NEC no longer had any ethnic minority representatives and most if not all MPs that have come from all-women short-lists for the last ten years, since the 1997 election have been white.

Given these facts the Labour Party and the NEC could be accused of failing ethnic minorities if they choose to give preference to an all-women short-list rather than an open short-list in constituencies like Ealing Southall.

The decision by the NEC in Ealing Southall could have far-reaching consequences in other constituencies with large numbers of ethnic minorities. Younger people are increasingly questioning the policies and practices of the main parties and they are well placed to influence the traditional Labour vote.

It is our strongly held view that Labour should select an ethnic minority candidate in the Ealing Southall constituency where the ethnic minority population is 64.7%.

We have argued and the past and present Labour Party Chairs have agreed that the likes of the electorate of Ealing Southall would like to see 'people like them' as their elected representatives.

The Sikh Federation (UK) is on record to say we would like to see a well educated and British born practising Sikh in the Commons, which would be a first.

One excellent candidate would be:

Dr Harkirtan Singh-Raud OBE

He is a senior Lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University and has been Head of Combined Science, taught Chemistry, Biochemistry and science in schools. His research field covers the area of race, gender and diversity. He is nationally recognised in his field and was awarded the OBE for service to Education and to Diversity.

He is a very active Labour Party member who has been recognised as an excellent candidate to become an MP. The only difficulty is he lives in Manchester where he hopes to become an MP. Would he be prepared to move South and would Labour be prepared to impose someone from outside? They have done this in the past and seeing the local Labour Party is divided an outside candidate like Harkirtan Singh, who is also Chair of the Oxbridge Sikh Alumni, may be the ideal compromise.

Sikh Federation (UK)

7:44 pm  

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