The LibDems’ New Generation
Posted by jonathanfryer on Monday, 25th January, 2010
The boardroom at the Liberal Democrats’ headquarters in Cowley Street, Westminster, was packed this evening for a New Year reception for the New Generation intitiative, which seeks to make the party more representative of the communities that it serves, notably in the fields of ethnic diversity, LGBT sectors and disability. Since New Generation was first launched six months ago, the number of people directly involved has tripled. But as Nick Clegg — the keynote speaker at this evening’s event — stressed, the LibDems as a party still have quite a hill to climb in making the party’s elected representaties more diverse. There are currently only two LibDem ethnic minority members of the House of Lords, none in the Commons (following Parmijit Gill’s defeat in Leicester South at the last General Election), nor in the European Parliament, following N.W. England MEP, Sajjad Karim’s defection to the Conservatives. However, in recent months, the LibDems have not only selected a number of excellent BME PPCs to fight parliamentary seats, but also many BME Council candidates. Present at this evening’s gathering was the latest addition to the LibDem BME Councillor fold, Brian Haley, formerly a senior Labour representative on Haringey Council who had become disillusioned by that low-performing borough’s Labour administration. Nick Clegg is right: the necessary change won’t happen overnight, but things are moving in the right direction, especially in London — and quite right too, as the capital is Britain’s most diverse society.
Photo: Cllr Brian Haley is welcomed by Lynne Featherstone MP (Hornsey & Wood Green) and Haringey Council LibDem Group Leader Robert Gorrie