Britain’s Labour Party, which is in a neck and neck race with Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives, is planning to bring Indian model quota system in civil services, company boards and the judiciary for the minority communities in Britain.
Black and Asian communities constitute about 13 per cent of British society. About three per cent are from India. The proposal to introduce new diversity quotas for minorities will be included in the election manifesto of the party, the Daily Express reported.
Britain is heading for a hung Parliament on May 7th elections. Surveys predicting almost equal numbers of seats for both the parties. The decision of the ethnic minority voters are very crucial in about 163 seats, especially in London and the Midlands.
The Labour party said the quota system will reverse centuries of inequality. The party says it will also reform stop and search powers and devolve youth unemployment measures to local authorities to help support young black and ethnic minority youngsters find work.
Shadow justice Secretary Sadiq Khan, who has been tasked with leading the party’s efforts to secure and increase its ethnic minority vote share, told Daily Express that “nothing was off the table” when it came to eradicating what he described as “inequalities” within the system.
His vision for the future is also part of a bold appeal to black and ethnic minority voters, who are expected to play a prominent role in the election after research showed that in 168 marginal seats the ethnic minority vote is bigger than the majority of the sitting MP.
“Our black and minority ethnic manifesto seeks to address the inequalities in the system to enable everyone regardless of their religion or ethnicity to fulfil their potential and ensure there is no inbuilt hindrance in their way,” Khan told Daily Express. “My message to your readers is that this will promote a rise in talent that will benefit us all.
“Don’t think that if my children fulfil their potential it will be to the detriment of your children.
“No-one should be upset if we have successful police officers, journalists or photographers from diverse backgrounds.
“I am the son of a bus driver. I want working class children to aim for the stars to become journalists and photographers, or whatever they want to be, because in the long run it is not a zero sum game and will benefit us all.”
Among the proposals expected to feature in the manifesto include targets for the number of women and ethnic minorities on company boards. The party would also like to see Black and Minority Ethnic and all-women shortlists introduced for Westminster seats, if the number of women and ethnic minorities returned to Parliament in May is not significantly higher.
The Labour party has said it wants to see the same progress on ethnic diversity as has been seen on gender inequality. The party is expected to launch a review on the issue as soon as it gets into power. It follows the release of recent figures which show more than half of FTSE 100 companies have no non-white directors and two-thirds no full-time minority executives at board level.
Mr Khan, who ran Ed Miliband’s leadership campaign and represents the ethnically diverse London seat of Tooting, wants to see a similar shake-up of the judiciary with a ”root and branch reform” and changes to the way judges are appointed.
He also wants to reform the civil service and introduce quotas for women and black and ethnic minority fast-track appointments.
“The fast-track civil service is full of white Oxbridge candidates so we need to change the civil service as well,” Mr Khan said. “The civil service is there whether the Government is Tory, Labour or a Coalition.
“If we can change the face of the civil service and mainstream this issue, it would make such a difference.”