Kate Osamor MP today attended an event hosted by Operation Black Vote to celebrate the record number of BME MPs elected to parliament in May 2015.
The event included short speeches by the Home Secretary and other guests, including newly elected MPs and leading figures from the BME community, to celebrate the progress that has been made but also discuss how to continue building on this historic achievement.
41 BME MPs were elected in May 2015 – up by over 50% since the last election. However, BME MPs still make up only 6.3% of the House of Commons.
Operation Black Vote was established in July 1996. It seeks to inspire BME communities to engage with our public institutions in order to address the persistent race inequalities in our society.
Speaking on the subject, Kate says:
“Whilst I welcome the fact that the May 2015 election saw a record number of BME MPs elected, it is still clear that we have a long way to go. We make up 6.3 per cent of the House of Commons, compared to 14 per cent of the population at large. In contrast, BME communities remain overrepresented in terms of unemployment, low pay and higher levels of poverty.
Operation Black Vote works in terms of community engagement as well as in terms of representation. I fully support this. BME communities are historically underrepresented in democratic election processes. Increasing grassroots engagement in politics empowers individuals, politically educates them and is essential if we are to make politics truly accessible.
We may have more BME MPs than ever before in parliament but the fact remains that the politics of austerity, including cuts to welfare, social housing and ESOL, is having a disproportionate impact on BME communities, especially BME women. This is something I have sought to highlight since I was elected an MP in May”.