25 Years On

Cllr Hirani with Shadow Minister for Public Health Diane Abbott MPI was delighted to attend the 25 years on event celebrating the 1987 historic election when four ethnic minority MPs, Bernie Grant, Keith Vaz and Diane Abbott and Paul Boateng were elected to Parliament. The event was held at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre in Tottenham. Paul was of course a MP in Brent and now sits in the House of Lords.

Indeed that weekend, I had been watching the Election 1987 programme on BBC Parliament and it was evident that it was an exciting election all around. In terms of social progress in society, it was great for ethnic minorities in this country. It paved the way towards seeing more ethnic minorities in public life in prominent positions. There are 27 ethnic minority MPs in the current Parliament, serving as either Labour or Conservative MPs.

I am proud of the progress that our Brent Labour Group is making and our ethnic composition that reflects the diversity of Brent. Around 60% of the Brent come from ethnic minority backgrounds and 60% of the Labour Group are ethnic minorities.

It’s great progress that Brent Council Leader Muhammed Butt is one of three ethnic minority Leaders of a London Borough Council. Despite London’s diversity, it is surprising that there are not more.

Congratulations Paul Boateng

Former Brent South MP Rt Hon Paul Boateng has been appointed to the House of Lords. In 1997, Paul became the UK’s first black Government minister. He was first elected to Parliament in 1987. Paul stepped down as an MP in 2005 to become Britain’s high commissioner in South Africa, paving the way for Dawn Butler to stand as the Labour candidate for Brent South.

Paul Boateng played an integral part of the Brent election campaign and campaigned tirelessly for Brent Labour on the campaign trail. A particular highlight of the campaign was Paul on his megaphone from the GMB bus in Dudden Hill in the Church End area telling people to Vote Labour!