Ed Balls MP has recorded a new video in support of the Labour Diversity Fund, which is now available to view on the campaign’s homepage.
In the video, Mr Balls comments:
I think one of Labour’s great achievements in the last 10 years is to see the number of women in Parliament rising, although there’s still more to do: we need to double numbers to get to fair representation. The same is true with the rise in BAME MPs as well: we’ve still got to double the numbers. But one of the areas which really worries me is the absolute decline we’ve seen since 1997 in the number of MPs from a working class, from a skilled or unskilled manual background. Part of the reason is that, these days with one-member-one-vote, it’s much more expensive to be a candidate for selection as an MP. If you think of it… time off work, potentially hiring a car, 300 members to see, all the letters to send out and maybe printed materials… It’s going to cost two or three thousand pounds to be selected as a candidate, and if you find two or three, before you get there, ten thousand pounds. And there aren’t many people with ten thousand pounds and an understanding employer around. That’s why I think we need to think about this hard. I’ve proposed a Diversity Fund in this leadership election to divert some of the money we raise from our fund-raising to support people who want to be candidates: women, BAME, but also those from low-income backgrounds and middle-income backgrounds who want to be MPs. To give them financial support so that they can break through some of those barriers… I think it’s the best way to make sure our politics is properly representative. I think this Diversity Fund is a really good idea, and I hope we can take it forward in the coming months.