Labour party insiders are hoping that the departure of Gordon Brown as party leader could pave the way for BAME issues to be freshly addressed by a new leader.
On Monday, Brown announced that he would step down as party leader, but hang on in government to allow a deal to be struck with the Liberal Democrats.
His decision was widely welcomed by party members anxious to make a fresh start at winning over public confidence.
Party members remain hopeful that a deal could be struck with Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats in order to remain in government.
Shahid Malik, former MP for Dewsbury said: “I think now that Gordon has decided to step down, there is a real opportunity now for the party to refresh itself and to re-engage and reconnect.”
He added: “We’ve now got an opportunity to shed the baggage of the past – a new dawn awaits, and it’s going to be a positive dawn.”
Newly re- elected Lambeth councillor and Labour party stalwart Kingsley Abrams said: “It’s a very brave statement from Gordon Brown to stand down as leader. We’ve got to think about the future of the Labour party.
Dora Dixon Fyle, recently returned to a fourth term as a Labour councilor in Southwark, said that the change in leadership was an opportunity for new BME MPs entering Parliament to have a fresh start and could see the development of a BME party leader in the future.
Dixon Fyle said: “In the long term I think it is going to be more positive from the BME point of view. We’ve seen the hard work from organizations such as Africans for Labour and OBV and now we’ve got more BME MPs now. The message has also got to other groups now as well, as we’ve seen the Conservatives with more BME MPs now as well. We have gone forwards.”
She continued: “I’d like to see a lot of time given to develop the new people coming in; We’ve got people like David Lammy, Sadiq Khan and others to do that and there needs to be a period of training where we can find people for the future.”
Foreign Secretary David Miliband has been tipped as the favourite to become the new party leader.
By Dominic Bascombe