Let our actions do the talking on diversity

This election is all up in the air with just over a week to go and the key message going out to Lib Dems everywhere is target, target, target. I agree 100% with one caveat.

When I wake up (or perhaps more realistically; go to sleep) on 9th June I would like us to have more MPs. Whilst the number of likely gains is small in number, each one will be a massive boost to the party and the hard-won result of hours and hours of volunteers delivering, canvassing and promoting those candidates.

My one caveat however, is that I would be very disappointed if our parliamentary party was not more diverse. I know that hundreds of activists have been supporting many of our fantastic women standing for parliament in held and previously held seats; from Sarah Olney to Jo Swinson; Tessa Munt to Christine Jardine there has been a clear awareness of the need to ensure the Liberal Democrat MPs in this next parliament aren’t all men.

However, another element of diversity the party does not seem to be following through on, as strongly, is ensuring the ethnic diversity of our MPs. We have a very strong chance to elect one such MP in Amna Ahmad, the incredible candidate for Sutton, Cheam and Worcester Park and who I have been fortunate enough to be campaigning for over the past four days. 

There is an incredible opportunity here for our party but we need people to support Amna and the team here as they push to regain the seat. It’s going to be very close but Amna needs that last push now to get people voting for her which I know she can do with your support, especially at action days this coming weekend.

Amna is has passion to drive for change, seen through her involvement with the development of the 1p in the pound funding pledge for NHS, social care and mental health funding that became party policy and a flagship manifesto commitment. Amna is also championing the local NHS, (including St Helier) and local schools and will fight against the proposed conservative cuts. Amna will be the strong, campaigning MP that this constituency needs.

Sutton is also a great borough to visit, and I’ve been getting to know it street by street! The team here are fantastic and extremely welcoming; but if you can’t get down here in person then there are other ways to help through donations, phone-banking or sending stamps!

I know I will be very frustrated if we miss out here by a handful of votes and I’m appealing to anyone within touching distance of Sutton to come and help Amna out. There’s also.an added bonus in Sutton Borough – you can campaign for Tom Brake in neighbouring Carshalton and Wallington where he is defending his seat against a UKIP / Conservative alliance.

Passing motions on diversity is all well and good, but when we have the opportunity to make that change and get strong ethnic minority candidates elected we need to step up and make it happen because others won’t always be there to do it for us.

You can sign up to help this coming weekend here – Saturday & Sunday or pledge your support here.

* Edward Sainsbury irst joined the Lib Dems in 2011 and blogs from www.esainsbury.wordpress.com

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7 Comments

  • David Evershed 1st Jun '17 - 10:50am

    We should be voting for Amna because she is the best candidate – not because of her ethnicity or gender.

  • Sue Sutherland 1st Jun '17 - 1:18pm

    It sounds as if she is the best candidate so your comment is quite unnecessary David. It’s time to get behind all our candidates and our activists in all our target seats and stop sniping from the sidelines.

  • We need one woman MP fewer in Birmingham Yardley. John Hemming has good chance of unseating Labour self-publicist Jess Phillips

  • Lorenzo Cherin 1st Jun '17 - 2:45pm

    Not sure that it is necessary , as Sue says , to presume that saying we need a parliamentary party reflective of the uk , is somehow, not recognising the merit of the representative, clearly we have good, often terrific, candidates.

    As for referring to Jess Phillips as a self publicist and then John Hemming as the antidote, irony personified, vote for John as a good alternative to Conservatism or socialism, but not as an alternative to self publicity ?!!!

  • Mark Goodrich 1st Jun '17 - 2:52pm

    Ahem, quite sad to see the comment from David above. Of course, we should be supporting Anna because she is a Liberal Democrate candidate in a target seat…BUT…Edward is absolutely right that we cannot have a parliamentary party which is all pale, male and stale.

    Anna is by all accounts a fantastic candidate anyway but if we want to grow the party, we really need more diverse MPs than we have currently. If I wasn’t stuck on the other side of the world, she would be my top choice to go and support of all our candidates in this election. Hope others in London and nearby see it the way I do.

  • Tick box positive discrimination is not the answer. And it does not even guarantee diversity, viewed in the round.

    We should just be concentrating on choosing the best candidate for each seat, and getting as many of them elected as possible. And leave all the quotas and fixing to the Labour Party which, despite having been at this for years, still has the worst attitudes amongst its members and representatives when it comes to equal opportunities.

  • Are male MPs/candidates criticised for being good at publicity? Isn’t that rather part of the job?

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