This week sees the Labour Party faithful cast their vote for one of the five candidates in the Leadership election campaign. At the beginning of the campaign in May and at the 25th hour we helped ensure Diane Abbott got the required 33 nominations, and was on the ballot.
We believed it was important to have a Black woman in the debate about the Labour Party’s future, and central to the campaign.
Last week saw another Labour campaign kick off with over 1000 attendees at the Troxy art deco cinema in Commercial Road, East London. As reported in the in the East London Advertiser, Luftar Rahman, the official Labour party candidate for Tower Hamlets Mayor launched his bid become the first directly elected Executive in the borough, and potentially one of the most powerful Black Minority Ethnic (BME) politicians in the UK.
Over the last couple of months OBV again played an instrumental part in ensuring that Labour HQ didn’t follow previous election strategies by attempting to gerrymander over the candidate selection.
By initially excluding Rahman a popular and electorally successful Bangladeshi figure, alongside Helal Abbas and Murtaza Ali not once, but twice from the choice of candidates put to members, Labour HQ came perilously close to repeating history and the London Mayoral debacle.
All three candidates were finally allowed onto the ballot after an extraordinarily successful campaign by local activists, the candidates and Operation Black Vote. Mr Rahman a fortnight ago ultimately won a decisive victory by a five to one margin.
OBV spoke at Diane Abbott’s launch and were proud to attend and speak at Rahman’s launch. By ensuring Black Minority Ethnic candidates are on the ballot in important political races we ensure BME members and the BME electorate is part of politics and wider society too.