Chaudhry Qamer Iqbal: Why I’m standing to be a member of Labour’s NEC

As a BAME member of Labour Party, I have always felt very strongly about the party and its values. BAME communities are united with Labour as they look to the party to address issues of equality. They vote Labour in elections and they remain loyal to the party.

However, the faith that BAME communities place in the Labour Party isn’t always reciprocated. We are all well aware of the deficiency in BAME representation amongst our MPs, peers and councillors but there is a further deficiency that is more alarming – that among the party’s elected representative committees.

Labour has faced challenges for failing to select more than a handful of ethnic minority candidates for its target seats in the selections taken place last year. I welcome and fully support the Democracy Review that highlights the changes that would address those concerns: “Campaigning for a change to allow BAME candidate shortlists and shortlists from all protected characteristics will allow us to select more candidates from all backgrounds.”

Following the democracy review, this is first time that the election of a BAME rep position on the NEC is being contested on a one-member-one-vote basis. That makes me very interested. I have been Labour Party member for the last 12 years, serving as a chair of Southall Broadway Branch (one of the largest branches with BAME members), a Constituency Labour Party secretary of Ealing Southall, and a proud member of Unite the Union.

I am a proud socialist who fully supported Jeremy Corbyn in both leadership contests and worked hard under his leadership in the 2017 and 2019 elections. With a strong campaigning background, I have been active in every election since 2007.

Since I took over as CLP secretary, I have delivered to transform my local party into a fully active and functioning group. I also delivered an excellent result for the EU election last year when Labour topped the result in Ealing, beating regional and national trend. I will:

  • Work closely with party and BAME communities to improve the representation at every level as promised by the democracy review and support open selections;
  • Make it my top priority to fight for the rights of every grassroots member to make sure a fair and transparent disciplinary process is in place so anyone suspended gets fair chance to get justice;
  • Seek to make NEC members to be more accountable to local members and CLPs;
  • Improve the communication and reporting back to members;
  • Be supportive of our newly elected leader to win back the trust of communities we lost in the last election.

If you want to have a strong socialist on your side on the NEC, please vote for me.

More from LabourList