More work needed to remove barriers facing black men in politics, warns David Lammy

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David Lammy has urged the Labour Party to concentrate its efforts on reducing barriers to entry for black men in the party.

The MP for Tottenham made the remarks at a Labour Conference fringe event in Brighton. Lammy, one of only three black or mixed-raced with black male Labour MPs, is quoted as saying:

"There are so many barriers to entry and when we’re talking about black men the barriers to entry are huge.

“The party has been slow to pick that up and understand that and we need to do considerably more.

“I do think we have to do a serious analysis about those barriers and removing those barriers as that does mean a degree of positive discrimination if you are to bring people forward.”

It is a matter that has previously been highlighted and continues to be placed under the spotlight, most notably by the 1987 Caucus. The group which was formed in 2020 and is made up of young black men has advocated for increased representation at all levels of the Labour Party.

In April of last year, Jermain Jackman who is a founding member of the 1987 Caucus called for the party to be vigilant in its efforts to support, encourage and represent black men in the party.

He wrote, “Several articles have been written, and complaints submitted to the party, on its failure to address the lack of black male representation. But here we are – in 2020 – having to create the 1987 Caucus Movement because, as a community, we have felt so voiceless. We believe black men within the party have been marginalised, sidelined and ignored. This needs to change.”

In the 121-year history of the Labour Party, only six men from black African, black Caribbean, mixed-raced with black or mixed raced with black ancestry backgrounds have held the position of MP: Bernie Grant, Lord Paul Boateng, and Chuka Umunna, as well as David Lammy, Clive Lewis, and Mark Hendrick.

Photograph: Jeff Overs/Reuters - David Lammy, pictured in 2020

Mayowa Ayodele

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