'No Chance' of Black or Asian AM; ASSEMBLY: Political Parties' Claims of Inclusivity a Joke, Says Campaigner

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), March 27, 2002 | Go to article overview

'No Chance' of Black or Asian AM; ASSEMBLY: Political Parties' Claims of Inclusivity a Joke, Says Campaigner


Byline: TOBY MASON Political Correspondent

THERE is no chance of any black or Asian AMs being elected to the next National Assembly and people from those communities should not stand, a leading ethnic campaigner said last night.

Naz Malik, director of the AllWales Ethnic Minority Association, said the political parties in Wales had no interest in promoting ethnic minority candidates for the 2003 elections.

He said they should drop claims of inclusivity, branding them a joke.

His comments will come as an embarrassment to Welsh political parties, who have made a great play in recent months of being more inclusive towards ethnic minorities.

But Mr Malik said, "I can see no prospect for any ethnic minority candidates winning seats in the Assembly in 2003. All this talk of inclusivity on the part of the political parties is just a joke.

"It has reached the point where I and other representatives of the ethnic minorities are coming to the conclusion that there is no point in seeking election in Wales, and we should look to England instead.

"The Labour Party conference last weekend approved measures for gender balance, but none whatsoever for any ethnic balance. I am not attacking the Labour Party, because they are further down the line than other parties, but there is simply no prospect of any black or Asian candidates being selected in winnable seats for any party."

Mr Malik, a Labour Party member, said he could see little in the parties' current processes which would promote ethnic minority candidates.

All 60 AMs are white and Mr Malik said that although he believed that each member should be able to represent the whole of Wales, the Assembly as a whole could not take into account the needs of a diverse population.

He said, "What is missing is the perspectives and experiences of other groups, which are not present in the Assembly.

"The mere fact that this is lacking means that it cannot possibly represent the people of these backgrounds."

Welsh political parties last night admitted that the chances of any ethnic minority candidates being elected in May 2003 were poor. …

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