Thursday, 15 July 2010

Operation Black Vote & the Communities and Local Government’s MP Shadowing Scheme

The Dawn of New Politics

OBV, in partnership with the CLG, this week launched an MP Shadowing Scheme at the Houses of Parliament that will nurture the next generation of Black, Asian and Chinese MPs and community leaders.

With a track record second to none, OBV embarks on its most ambitious parliamentary shadowing scheme to date. Over a period of six months, 31 outstanding Black and minority ethnic individuals, will shadow MPs and Peers from all the three main parties, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party.

Participating MPs include Cabinet Minister Rt. Hon Oliver Letwin, CLG Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State Andrew Stunell, Party Leaders Caroline Lucas and Elfyn Llwyd and Labour Leadership candidates - David Milliband, Ed Milliband, Andy Burnham and Diane Abbott.

With guidance from their MPs and Peers and intense training in regards to policy, media, and activism, OBV expects the vast majority of participants to hold political or civic positions in the near future.

Others that have been on similar schemes or have been directly assisted by OBV include the First Muslim female cabinet member Sayeeda Warsi, former Cabinet Member Sadiq Khan, and the first female Conservative of African origin Helen Grant who shadowed Oliver Letwin on the last programme.

Speaking at Monday’s event, Andrew Stunell MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary at Communities and Local Government, said: “The House of Commons is still disproportionately white, but things are moving in the right direction. This Government wants a fair society where race and ethnicity are no barriers to taking part. This scheme will provide 31 ambitious ethnically diverse people with invaluable experience and guidance to help them make parliament and local councils more truly reflect our communities. I'm looking forward to working with partners, such as OBV and am really proud to be acting as a mentor to one of the participants in this year’s project and hope to one day sit alongside him in the House.”
OBV’s Director Simon Woolley stated: “The calibre of this year’s participants is outstanding. Young men and women from varied backgrounds will inspire a generation, help transform their chosen political parties, and become the type of leaders all society will be proud of.”

Parliamentary Ambassador Gurvinder Sandher said: “The scheme will provide an opportunity for me and my other colleagues on the scheme to learn and develop new skills which we can take back into our communities and inspire them to get more actively involved in front line politics.”

Parliamentary Ambassador Rebecca Hemmings who is shadowing Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats said: “For years I have explored various aspects of politics through theatre to help empower and inform people. When I heard about this scheme I saw it as the ideal opportunity to take these aims to a larger stage where I can reach many more people and have a bigger impact.”
Picture Caption: The next generation of leaders

From left to right: Gurvinder Sandher, Phillip Olanipekun, Andrew Stunell - MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary at Communities and Local Government, Jacqueline Kibacha

From left to right: Simon Hughes – Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Rebecca Hemmings

List of Pairings
MP Shadow

LABOUR Harriet Harman Rashida Allie London
Ed Milliband Clive Lewis NorwichDavid Milliband Stephen Bediako LondonAndy Burnham Sol River Leeds
Sadiq Khan Chandni Tanna LondonDiane Abbott George Cole Leicester
Meg Hillier Nicole Reece London
Tessa Jowell Bayo Alaba LondonKeith Vaz Ranjit Arora Bradford
Anas Sarwar Alina Mirza Glasgow
Chukka Umunna Toib Olomomwe LondonFiona MacTaggart Zena Agha LondonShabana Mahmood Saima Mir Bradford/London
Oliver Letwin Phillip Olanipekun Epsom, SurreyEric Ollerenshaw Peter Boland SuffolkStephen McPartland Ellin Joseph Herts Peter Bottomley John Hughes PortsmouthMargot James Kiran Kaur Cheema Twickenham
Baroness Verma Sajda Mughal London
Justine Greening Jacqueline Kibacha London
Andrew Stephenson Gurvinder Sandhu Kent
LIBERALS Andrew Stunell Daniel Junor Nottingham
Baroness Scott Naheed Qureshi London
Simon Hughes Rebecca Hemmings Birmingham
Sir Menzies Campbell Alessandra Williams London
Jo Swinson Eldridge Culverwell LondonTom Brake Amanda Parker LondonJohn Leech Yinka Alli-Balogun WorcesterPLAID CYMRU Elfyn Llywd Tue Hong Baker Conwy, Wales
Caroline Lucas Lianne DeMello Brighton
To interview a participant, please call 0208 983 5426/ 079177 86062.

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