YouElect’s second BME political participation event in Parliament took place on Tuesday, the event adopted a question time theme giving participants the chance to quiz three BME MPs about what their parties are doing to encourage more people from BME communities to get involved in politics.
MPs Helen Grant, Tasmina Ahmed Sheikh and Dawn Butler, along with senior researcher from the University of Manchester, Dr Maria Sobolewska answered questions on a range of issues, from barriers they face working in Parliament and tackling institutional racism to their views on quotas and the concept of reparations.
The event was part of the Bridging the Gap series, designed to highlight key factors contributing to the lack of people from BME backgrounds participating in politics and to develop practical solutions to the issue.
Despite the event clashing with the House of Commons Budget vote, which meant there were a few interruptions while our MP panellists were voting, participants had the opportunity to engage in in-depth discussions with the panellists on the issues raised.
Dr Maria’s contribution to the panel provided context to the discussion through use of the research she has conducted on BME voter patterns and the reasons that large proportions of certain BME communities are not registered to vote.
YouElect are keen to make sure that issues raised by our event participants are bought to the attention of political parties and that action is taken by the parties to tackle the barriers that exist for young, aspiring BME politicians. We will therefore be meeting with the relevant people responsible for diversity within each political party and working with them to make sure practical steps are taken so that parties are actively and effectively engaging with BME communities.