Labour accused of discrimination over youth equality conference
White heterosexual men are not listed as eligible to apply to attend the meeting.
Labour has been accused of discrimination after straight white men were told they could not attend a conference on equality.
Young Labour’s Equalities Conference was billed as a “one-day event” for disabled, LGBT, women and black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) members, according to an invite sent to members.
White heterosexual men are not listed as eligible to apply to attend the gathering, which will take place on March 17 in central London.
Does this mean that no white heterosexual men are allowed to go to Young Labour's EQUALITIES Conference? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/5zIBeqBd7u— Carrie Symonds (@carriesymonds) February 11, 2018
Labour denied the event was discriminatory and said equalities representatives for the youth faction’s National Committee would be elected at the meeting.
James Cleverly, deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, said: “This is yet another example of discrimination by Labour.
“Their lazy assumption that straight white men can’t fight for equality is shocking. It is essential that political parties represent each and every person irrespective of race, sexuality or age.
We’re proud to run events for members that are underrepresented in politics. Sign up for our third annual Equalities Conference now. ✊🏼 pic.twitter.com/Q4DIl56Slc— Young Labour (@YoungLabourUK) February 11, 2018
“The Labour Party should take action now to ensure that this discrimination comes to an end.”
A Labour spokeswoman said: “There is nothing new about spaces for people with protected characteristics meeting to discuss the inequalities and obstacles they face.
“The purpose of this conference is to ensure that members from disadvantaged groups are able to elect representatives to Young Labour’s National Committee.
“All other positions on the Committee are elected online, via a ‘one member, one vote’ system.”
The positions of women’s, BAME, disabled, and LGBT+ representative will be elected at the Young Labour conference.
Heterosexual white men are not eligible to vote in the elections, as rules state only women can vote for the women’s representative and only LGBT members can vote for the LGBT officer.
The election of equalities representatives cannot take place online as Labour does not have the relevant data on members’ identities.
Most other positions on the National Committee are voted for using an online ballot.