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Need more BAME MPs to reflect modern Britain, says Cable

4th May 2018
Need more BAME MPs to reflect modern Britain, says Cable

Ahmed J Versi

Liberal Democrats are still not representative of modern Britain, Leader of the Party told The Muslim News. Sir Vince Cable acknowledged that his party was not “yet fully representative of modern Britain. We don’t yet have enough MPs, Councillors, and others from the ethnic minority. We have a lot to do to put that right.”

He added that his party should be fighting for diversity. “We got to value diversity and make the party more diverse. We have to work within the law to promote BAME representation.”

There are just 51 BAME MPs. They represent only 7.9% of all MPs, against 14% of the British population. Sir Vince said the legislation needs to be changed so that all-BAME shortlists are allowed for selecting Parliamentary election candidates.

“Although advances in gender balance have been made partly through all-women shortlists, we still have this loophole that all-BAME shortlists are not allowed.”

Under the 2010 Equality Act, political parties may field all-women or all-disabled shortlists, but the law does not allow for all-BAME shortlists. There are no Lib-Dem Muslim MPs.

On the ‘Punish a Muslim’ day letters sent to Muslim MPs and Muslims across the UK, there had been very little support for the victims by the politicians except for the Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn.

“My understanding was that it is a product of a very tiny representative extreme right-wing group. One of the reasons we are not making too much of it is not to give oxygen to the publicity because this is how these people thrive.
If the letter was by a broadly based body we would be there fighting it. Of course, if there are attacks, then the people involved should be dealt with severely.”

However, the Muslim community took it seriously and many women refused to go out on the day as they believed the threat was going to be carried out.

“I would urge they should not be afraid because this is not a mainstream organisation. We condemn Islamophobia completely.”

Lib-Dems want to scrap the Prevent strategy. “The Liberal Democrats are fully committed to scrapping Prevent and removing absolute control of the programme from the Home Office and putting it within the remit of the Department for Communities and Local Government. It should be dealt with by the local authority. It should just be community engagement.” Sir Vince said he had been against Prevent when he was in the Coalition Government as he was “very anxious Prevent strategy should not be used to suppress diverse voices in the universities.”

“The Government’s counter-terrorism strategy, Prevent, has promoted a culture of suspicion and mistrust of Muslim individuals and communities.”

He added that the philosophy is about “community engagement rather than simply focussing on terrorism. Treating the whole Muslim community as if they are potentially [sic] terrorist suspects is a fundamentally unhealthy way of looking at it” On the recent killings of peaceful Palestinian protesters in Gaza by Israeli soldiers, Sir Vince said, “I condemn disproportionate use of force which was involved here.”

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Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence event is to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to society. Over 850 people from diverse background, Muslim and non-Muslim, attended the gala dinner.

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