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Ealing and Northfield

Labour decide on woman for Southall

The Ealing Times is reporting this morning that Labour has gone for an all-women shortlist for the Ealing Southall Constituency.

Two of the Labour councillors, Cllr Gurcharan Singh and Cllr Virendra Sharma, have been having a good go at each other.

Singh: The real reason for this [all-women shortlist] is Mr Khabra and my opponent, Virendra Sharma, came to the conclusion that they can’t beat me fair and square. They convinced people that we should have an all-women shortlist. Now there is no way I can take part – short of getting a sex change. He realised he could not beat me so now he is saying: ‘If I’m not getting it then you’re not having it either.’ I wasn’t expecting it and I’m disappointed that the Labour party would aspire to make a decision like this. The representation of one group should not be at the expense of another – they should have men and women.

Sharma: I’m surprised he thinks I’ve got that much power. Councillor Singh’s comments are childish.

Ouch! Apparently Cllr Singh told the Ealing Times he will do everything in his power to fight the decision. Sounds like a recipe for future rumbling.

Maybe now Singh will take down his website with its me-wall pictures of Singh with Blair, Livingstone, et al. According to the hit counter almost 8,000 people have visited this little shrine to himself.

It looks like Labour Group leader, Sonika Nirwal, is now the front-runner. With typical Oxbridge arrogance, but maybe not the grammar, she says:

I am the front runner, definitely. I am leader of the group, I’m a young, Asian woman. I grew up in Southall, I’m educated in politics from Cambridge – of course I would want to do it.

Apparently Labour are worried about losing Ealing Southall. They should be. After 12 years of an ineffective Labour council the place is still not right. After 15 years of having a lobby-fodder pensioner as an MP the place is still not right. The combination of the energy and enterprise of Southall’s people with a Conservative council and a Conservative MP is what Southall needs.

5 replies on “Labour decide on woman for Southall”

“With typical Oxbridge arrogance”…. sounds like someone’s got a chip on shoulder – failed to get an interview perchance.

If the good people of Bethnal green and Bow do not snap up Dr Rupa Huq, big sister of Blue Peter/TOTP Konnie (as if that matters), then she will (a) not have to move from her current Ealing address and (b) make a very excellent candidate, not scarred by the local in-fighting and unredeemed issues (if we can believe the Tories about those!).

You should hope she wins the selection in BG&Bow and Mr Galloway has the problem and not Ealing Comedy Tories!

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)

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