Rayner launches councillor training sessions to boost diversity among candidates

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner has launched a series of councillor training sessions with the aim of boosting diversity among local government candidates in the May 2021 elections involving 184 councils.

The local elections originally set to be held on May 7th, 2020, were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic and will instead take place alongside the contests previously scheduled to take place next year.

The council elections, plus the contests for 13 directly-elected mayors and 40 police and crime commissioners, will be the first significant test of the new leadership comprising Keir Starmer and Rayner.

In an email to Labour members this morning, the party chair and deputy leader pledges to prioritise increasing the diversity of candidates and urges women, LGBTQ+, BAME and disabled members to stand for office.

A source close to Rayner told LabourList: “Our party is over half a million strong made up of people from all backgrounds and walks of life, many of whom are already active in their communities.

“Angela is absolutely determined that we use all of the talent and potential we have in our party, and she wants to support people who haven’t previously considered standing for office before to do so.”

The series of webinar training sessions will feature Rayner herself speaking alongside serving Labour councillors, who will share their experiences of contesting their seat and serving in local government.

Rayner’s message to members reads: “We must increase the diversity of our candidates who stand for elected office, and as your deputy leader it’s one of my key priorities. Our movement must be rooted in and reflective of the communities that we seek to serve.

“If you’re one of our women, LGBTQ+, BAME or disabled members, I’d love you to join me at a series of webinars where we can talk about standing for election as a Labour councillor, how we can support you if you decide to stand and what it’s like to be a councillor if you get elected.

“The elections taking place next May are so important for our party and for our country, with thousands of councillors being elected to serve their local communities and stand up to this Tory government. Being a councillor is a tough task, but it’s also incredibly rewarding.”

After details of sessions on August 11th and 18th and September 3rd, Rayner adds: “I will be joined by current Labour Party councillors, sharing their experiences and knowledge right through from their decision to stand in the first place to what their day to day role as a Labour councillor involves.

“Labour councillors do fantastic work up and down the country and never has this been more apparent than in this crisis, with Labour councillors standing up for our communities and protecting the most vulnerable in our society.”

Following the 2019 general election, women make up 51% of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP). Its parliamentary candidate selections also increased the number of minority ethnic Labour MPs, with a record number of 41 elected.

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