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Starmer is ignoring concerns from black and Asian communities, members warn

Sir Keir Starmer has been accused of ignoring Black, Asian and ethnic minority concerns from Labor members after failing to raise key issues at a party event.

Ahead of Bame’s membership conference last weekend, a group of black and Asian members wrote to the party leader asking questions about the lack of representation in the party leadership and policies to increase diversity.

“Many Bame members feel that we have not been adequately listened to or supported in the party in recent years,” the letter said the independent, said.

But a number of members attending the conference on Saturday said Sir Keir “just spoke and left” after making his speech, asking no questions and not addressing the letter or issues raised.

Jermain Jackman, Chairman of the faction in 1987 Group representing young black men in Labor said the party risks drifting black voters.

“What’s the to-do list for the party? If the Labor Party doesn’t see the changes taking place in the black community, and the changes the Tories are making in terms of their involvement in the black community, they can forget about this electoral bloc. No one will knock on doors for them,” Mr. Jackman said pleasemynews.

“As a black person, I don’t feel qualified to be part of this party. I am 100 per cent in favor of Labor’s story and my policies are consistent with that, but I am not happy with the current state of affairs. I’ve heard some worrying comments from very senior Black members within the movement about how powerless they feel and how unheard they are; That makes me less optimistic about the future of this party.”

The letter, which was ignored by Labor leaders, said that of the 50 most senior staff working for the Labor Party at national and regional levels, only two are black or ethnic minorities. It asked, “What are you doing to address this deficit of Bame’s senior staff? Aren’t blacks and ethnic minorities good enough to work for the party?”

Members also highlighted the Bernie Grant Leadership Program, announced in 2018 to combat underrepresentation. However, only one group went through the program. The letter also caused a delay in responding to recommendations in the Forde report, which warned of racism in the party.

When approaching pleasemynewsLabor did not address the concerns raised in the letter, but said the conference was “a well-attended, positive online event for members”.

It comes after former shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, the first black woman elected to Parliament, accused Labor of sidelining black politicians to the left of the party after it emerged she was among a string of black MPs who were not invited to the Bame conference.

“To add insult to injury, when this was raised at the Labor Party they initially said we were lying,” Ms Abbott said pleasemynews. “This is all the more worrying given that blacks have been one of Labor’s most loyal constituencies for generations.”

“The Labor Party’s stance on black, Asian and minority ethnic issues is disappointing,” said the Hackney MP, adding that there has never been an apology for the abuse by senior party officials who are still working for Labor after they have been killed as “hilarious” and “really repulsive” in WhatsApp messages, the Forde report reveals.

Some black lawmakers received details of the event after it had started, following complaints about the ban. A party member tells pleasemynews. “We cannot say that we are trying to solve the problems if we do not involve all those affected.”

“The webinar nature of the event didn’t really offer a lot of opportunity to contribute or really examine issues,” said Maurice McLeod, a Labor MEP who attended the Bame conference pleasemynews.

“There were some good speakers who addressed some of the issues that many black members are concerned about, such as the Forde Report, the treatment of black MPs and biased selection processes.

“However, the organization of the event is slowing down. Black MPs were ignored and there was no opportunity to really engage or debate.”

Sir Keir is understood to have spoken about the decline in living standards under the Conservative Party, which is disproportionately affecting ethnic communities, and reiterated his pledge that his Labor government would introduce a landmark new Racial Equality Bill, implement all of the Lammy Review’s recommendations and unify create a curriculum that reflects our country’s diverse history and society.

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