Labour to Win NEC candidate says party doesn’t “have the back” of Black community

Andrew Kersley

A ‘Labour to Win’ candidate for Labour’s ruling body has warned the party not to “preach to the Black community and say you’ve got our back when you don’t”.

Joining a Zoom event hosted by political commentator and former senior adviser Ayesha Hazarika on Wednesday, Terry Paul said Labour did not “structurally” represent the Black community.

Paul is running to be a local party representative on Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) as part of the Labour to Win slate that has brought together Progress and Labour First groups.

In response to a question about Black Lives Matter, the NEC candidate suggested that the movement needed to be a “call to arms” for Labour to improve its own record on anti-racism.

Paul told the Labour to Win event: “We like to talk about structures driving racism, but structures are made up of people. It’s people who don’t elect Black candidates for positions…

“As a Labour Party, we need to ask ourselves, are we really doing the best for our Black members? I will say no. We should stop talking about structures – ‘it’s that structure over here we’ve got to fix’ – no, it’s you.”

He concluded: “The Labour Party has got to do better. Don’t preach to the Black community and say you’ve got our back when you don’t. Look around you, and you haven’t.”

Paul said there are only 82 Black male councillors in the country. A 2019 report found that even in London, just 7.8% of councillors were Black, compared to 14% of the city’s overall population.

Alongside fellow local party rep candidate Jermain Jackman, Paul could be the first Black man elected to Labour’s ruling NEC in its 120-year history, as highlighted by the 1987 Caucus group.

Labour to Win, seen to be on the right of the Labour Party, describes itself as a campaign organisation that wants to reform Labour and “return to being election winners”.

Its NEC candidate slate also includes Luke Akehurst, Joanna Baxter, Gurinder Singh Josan and Shama Tatler, who have all received enough local party nominations to secure places on the ballot.

Local party, trade union and Labour group nominations will close on September 27th. Ballots will be sent out from October 19th, before voting closes on November 12th and results announced the next day.

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