Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats


2013 HAS been a year of real growth for EMLD. We have seen our membership climb to almost 400 and scored many notable successes such as the excellent Race Equality Taskforce report into education and employment, and the successful race conference - with the Social Liberal Forum - to launch it. We celebrated as the Federal Conference unanimously approved our motion endorsing the report and we also played a key role in saving important parts of the Equality Act. This Annual Review contains an overview of the achievements and successes of EMLD in 2013. I wish to pay tribute to a wonderful executive team who worked tirelessly to promote EMLD’s ideals inside and outside the Party. We are at the forefront of working in partnership with other SAO’s, politicians, ordinary members, and the regional and federal structures, to promote race equality and BAME participation. And our meetings with

ministers tackled issues around immigration and faith. The need to change attitudes and culture in politics is crucial. EMLD is at the vanguard of this process in the Party. We still have a long way to go, and this is a long term project, but our destination can only be reached one step at a time. What we want to see is the pace of progress quickened and the strides lengthened. EMLD is a vital organisation within the Liberal Democrats. If we didn’t exist the Party would lose some legitimacy when asking for BAME votes. On our shoulders rests the responsibility of driving forward race equality and we carry the hopes and aspirations of all BAME people who wish to see our Party truly represent diverse Britain. Organisations like EMLD should be afforded the appropriate recognition, respect and status. We are entering an important peri-

od, not least with the 2014 European elections and the 2015 General Election. There is a great opportunity to ensure the selection of BAME candidates in target seats get elected. I wish to personally thank the outgoing executive committee and warmly welcome the new members who will strengthen us further. We have an exciting and immensely experienced team to take us forward in 2014 / 15.

Issan Ghazni

Chair: Issan Ghazni Executive Committee: Raj Haque, Jonathan Vice-Chairs (3): Merlene Emerson, Rabi Mar- Hunt, James Jennings, Kui MacKay, Tahir Maher, Pash Nandhra, Graham Neale, Maritins, Ruwan Uduwerage-Perera sha Ray, Mohammed Shafiq, Janice Turner Secretary: Lester Holloway Honorary Vice-Presidents: Baroness Meral Treasurer: Godfried Gyechie Hussein Ece, Lord Qurban Hussain Membership Secretary: Dr Turhan Ozen Honorary President: Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP


Race equality conference
VINCE CABLE helped launch the Race Equality Taskforce report on education and employment at a race conference in central London in June. The 56-page report, with a foreword from Nick Clegg, followed a years’ work from a taskforce mainly composed of EMLD members. The well-attended conference, at Amnesty International’s headquarters, was organised jointly with the Social Liberal Forum. Cable told the conference: “I found this report very helpful. It is really admirable. I hope the party will take it seriously. I think this report was good in highlighting some of the concrete realities. In the schools we have a five percent exclusion rate but for black African Caribbeans it is 11 percent and for African Caribbean boys its’ almost double that. “The impact of unemployment has been disproportionately felt by ethnic minorities. Public sector is far ahead of the private sector in taking race equality seriously so there is a differential impact felt through that.” Other speakers included ex-Charlton Athletic player Paul Mortimer from Show Racism the Red Card, Dr Rob Berkeley the director of the Runnymede Trust, TUC race equality officer Wilf Sullivan, educationalist Professor Gus John and senior police officer Leroy Logan. Launching the taskforce report, Baroness Hussein Ece said: “We have made huge strides but it should not rely on luck. All too often it is still a question of who your parents are and where you come from rather than what abilities you have, and this is something that is still hugely discriminatory.

“Too often they come from homes where parents are not good at navigating the system, perhaps their families don’t have the sharpest elbows, and face disadvantages because of their race.” Workshop speakers included Cllr Duwayne Brooks, Tom Brake MP, Dr Prateek Buch, Kelly-Marie Blundell, Gareth Epps, Naomi Smith, Lester Holloway, Ruwan Uduwerage Perera and Janice Turner.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Rt Hon Vince Cable MP ,; Professor Gus John, Baroness Meral Hussein Ece and Paul Mortimer; Raj Haque (front) in the audience; Ruwan Uduwerage-Perera, Dr Prateek Buch and Anuja Prashar at a workshop; Issan Ghazni and SLF chair Gareth Epps.


Officer team reportback
I HAVE traditionally taken on the task of co-ordinating EMLD’s participation at Party conferences (including some regional conferences) - ensuring EMLD has a stall and presence - and organising fringe events. We endeavor to work in partnership with other affiliated organisations and had our first joint fringe with the Lib Dem Disability Association at the Spring conference this year. We also co-hosted fringe debates with Friends of Turkey, Chinese Liberal Democrats and the newly formed BUILD (British United Indian Liberal Democrats). I led on an emergency motion against the Immigration Poster Vans (unfortunately not selected) at the Autumn Conference but delighted that our Race Equality motion is now party policy! I had the privilege of co-supervising our volunteer intern over the summer and continue to work with the executive team to inform and influence party policy and in outreach and recruitment. Merlene Emerson

2012/13 HAS been an incredible period for EMLD with

it earning the much overdue kudos for aiding the Party to become more inclusive. We started the year with the Eastleigh byelection and culminated at the adoption of the Race Equality Taskforce Report, which may form a basis for the 2015 Election Manifesto. I know that 2014/15 will prove to be challenging, but with the assistance of the increasingly skilled EMLD membership it will also be equally exciting as EMLD

forges a new course and becomes even more influential within the Party. EMLD’s determination to dismantle the barriers that face BAME members of society should be internally duplicated by the increased recruitment, retention and promotion of BAME members and candidates with success being representation amongst our Parliamentarians. Ruwan Uduwerage-Perera

I HAVE enjoyed my first year as Secretary. I designed and launched a new website; produced a series of e-bulletins to EMLD members; and designed leaflets and new exhibition banners. I also co-supervised our intern working at Party HQ; represented the organisation at several events and in the media; and initiated Nick Clegg’s public statement on Black History Month.

I am currently producing a template for a new quarterly EMLD newsletter and prioritising the ‘servicing’ of members. This year has seen a substantial raising of the organisations’ profile inside and outside the Party. We have a highly competent team that looks set to be strengthened further, which is immensely encouraging. Lester Holloway

IN THE last year we have seen our membership levels reach to 400. I am pushing for even better membership levels as well as involving members more in our initiatives. I have helped organise activities at conferences including arranging fringes and activities at EMLD stands. Lib Dem friends of Turkey have raised funds to employ an intern to service EMLD and LDFoT. I have raised funds to recruit another part time of-

ficer who will help administer the membership and run projects that will initiate more interaction with our members and other SAOs and AOs. I would like to have regular local reports on topics that will be of interest to our members. Dr Turhan Ozen

IT HAS been a very busy and frenetic year for the EMLD with all our activities. We have grown our membership and thus continued to add funds to our bank balance allowing us spread the EMLD message . This year I have kept busy by keeping the PPER Act Donation report up to date and I have also dealt with the audit of the EMLD account by Lloyds and I’m happy to say that we passed.

My thanks to Baroness Meral Hussein Ece for her assistance in this matter. I’ve brought the EMLD Account into the 21st Century by now allowing for internet access allowing for faster payments . Godfried Gyechie


Executive Committee reportback
THE BEGINNING of my term of office was spent helping the Taskforce finalise their report (see page 7). I participated in meetings with ministers and liaised with the Social Liberal Forum to organise a joint conference on race equality which sent a strong message that the members care greatly about race equality. I helped campaign against Tory attacks on the Equality Act, lobbying our parliamentarians. I drafted EMLD’s motion to federal conference and I’m now working hard to ensure it is implemented. I’ve also persuaded our race equality minister, Stephen Williams, to raise the plight of Choice FM with regulator Ofcom. Finally, I would like to say it has been a great privilege for me to have worked with such an accomplished and resolute team of race equality campaigners. We should be immensely proud of changing the party’s policy on race equality. Janice Turner

MY FIRST year on the exec has been really interesting. I have tried to listen and learn, while my colleagues have been most supportive, explaining details and encouraging me to express my views. I have tried to bring a fresh perspective to EMLD, combining my work on the executive with other groups, as well as bringing experience of my work in

a council group. I hope we can continue to bring a broader awareness of disparate groups within the party. Thanks to all my colleagues for their patience and enthusiasm. Graham Neale

LAST YEAR I was a new member of EMLD Executive and over the year I was pleasantly surprised at the commitment, passion and professionalism demonstrated by that executive. This is not the EMLD of old that I remember!

Some very good work was done last year; in the coming year I too hope to positively contribute to the growing significance in the party that is EMLD. Tahir Maher

I WENT to Eastleigh to help in the byelection, spoke at conference supporting our motion, and I said that hardly any change has taken place in our committees; same faces and chairs, and their aides. People who watch us at home have remarked that there was a singular lack of black and brown faces this year in Glasgow. Why?

I attended the launch of the Towards Race Equality Report - a very impressive document - recruited one new member and sold 5 badges. I am working on the education manifesto to bring in some of the recommendations in the diversity report, eg the curriculum must reflect the needs of all the pupils. Pash Nandhra

HIGHLIGHTS THIS year include Baroness Meral Hussein Ece, with active support from EMLD’s executive, succeeding in preventing the government from sweeping away much of the protection against discrimination for public sector employees. I enjoyed working with the LDDA (Liberal Democrat Disability Association) when we lobbied Lib Dem peers on the issue. The second highlight was the launch of the Race

Equality Taskforce Report, which shows how much there remains to be done and why we laws to provide protection against discrimination. Thank you to officers and the executive for providing an active and stimulating first year back. After over a decade away, while a councillor in a Lib Dem-run authority, there is even more to do now and in years to come. Marisha Ray


EMLD ENJOYED a successful Federal Conference this autumn with unanimous support for our motion on race equality in education and employment. The motion endorsed the groundbreaking report by the Race Equality Taskforce, established by Nick Clegg, and promoted the need to tackle disproportionate school exclusions and BAME unemployment. The motion also argued that the public sector should ensure equality is on the agenda of businesses they offer contracts to (procurement). Janice Turner expertly moved the motion, followed by fellow executive committee members Merlene Emerson, Marisha Ray, Pash Nandhra and vice-president Baroness Meral Hussein Ece. Honourable mentions also go to former executive member Anuja Prashar, Linda Jack, Gareth Epps and Kelly-Marie Blundell. As a result the Liberal Democrats now have a more progressive policy on race equality in education and employment than any other party. You can view the motion and taskforce report on our website (www. Our well-attended fringe meeting entitled ‘Where’s the Leadership Going on Immigration?’ included contributions from Migrants Rights director Don Flynn, Catherine Bearder MEP, Julia Onslow Cole from Migration Matters, Lord Qurban Hussain, Nick



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Thornsby of Lib Dem Voice and the chair of the Party’s working group on immigration and asylum Sir Andrew Stunell. There were calls for a more Liberal and progressive stance and condemnation of Conservative “Go Home” immigration poster vans. An equally popular joint EMLD and Lib Dem Friends of Turkey fringe included Tom Brake MP, Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP, Baroness Meral Hussein Ece, Simon Hughes MP, Turkish Ambassador Ahmet Ünal Çeviköz, scholar Ziya Meral and Nick Hopkinson from Chatham House. An EMLD / Chinese Liberal Democrat fringe on the economic and cultural benefits of twinning UK and China cities featured Duncan Hames MP, Sir Graham Watson MEP and Jerry Cheung. In addition, we hosted an over-subscribed Chinese banquet with special guest Lord Paddy Ashdown, organised by vice-chair   Merlene Emerson, and   we ran an exhibition stall   staffed by members and   our then intern, Dipa Vaya. s Race Equality:

a Liberal Democrat Approach
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TOP RIGHT: Marisha Ray and Janice Turner speaking for EMLD’s conference motion. BELOW RIGHT: Baronesses Zahida Manzoor, Meral Hussein Ece and Lord Qurban Hussain. RIGHT: Lord Paddy Ashdown and Merlene Emerson at the EMLD / Chinese Lib Dem conference banquet. LEFT: Our immigration fringe with Sir Andrew Stunell and others.


Meeting ministers and officials

Merlene Emerson, Lester Holloway, Ruwan Uduwerage-Perera, Stephen Williams MP, James Jennings and Janice Turner

WE HAVE met regularly with Lib Dem ministers and officials in 2013 to promote race equality policies and BAME representation at all levels. This includes meetings include Home Office minister Norman Baker, equalities ministers Stephen Williams, Jo Swinson and ex-ministers Sir Andrew Stunell and Don Foster. We discussed the Immigration Bill with Mr Baker and have pushed wider race equality policy issues with other ministers. Other issues include the Public Sector Equality Duty (which we believe has now been saved); Equality Impact Assessments (which have also been preserved); and the ‘General Duty’ aspect of the Equality Act (proposals to axe this were dropped after the Lords rebelled twice). EMLD members have also been busy taking a motion on race equality in education and employment to this

years’ federal conference, championing the need to put this policy into practice. This motion was unanimously approved. EMLD members have also met regularly with Party officials to help fashion new ways to increase race diversity. Vice-chair Ruwan Uduwerage-Perera has led on promoting Equality Impact Assessments within the Party throughout 2013, as well as the content of equalities training modules for members. We have also discussed the need for local parties to use best practice concerning community engagement, recruitment and talent-spotting at the grassroots. Ideas for making the Diversity Engagement Group more effective were sent to Party president Tim Farron and several members are keen to see more support for regional Diversity Champions.


Working Groups, committees and consultations
EMLD HAS participated in a number of consultations and working groups in 2013. In response to the Home Office consultation reviewing police stop and search we launched a web survey of our members and stakeholders which informed our submission and formed a sub-group on the executive led by vice-chair Ruwan UduweragePerera. Cllr Uduwerage-Perera also sits on the Party’s Immigration and Asylum working group and has ensured EMLD have contributed to this process as well as setting up another web survey which has attracted a high response rate. Lester Holloway and Janice Turner were appointed to the Party’s new Equalities policy working group, and Merlene Emerson sits on the Ageing Societies policy working group. Several EMLD members also sit on a variety of Party bodies. Issan Ghazni sits on the Federal Executive; Cllr Holloway and Jonathan Hunt are on the London Regional Executive; and Cllr UduweragePerera is the English Party diversity champion and on the South Central Regional Executive.


New website launched
EMLD WILL be launching a new website at the AGM. The new site (www.EMLibDems. which is intended to be easier to navigate and provide clearer links to our Facebook and Twitter presence. People seeking our old site will be automatically redirected to the new one for the next three months. The new site comes with email addresses. The main one is “info@” plus personalised emails for the Executive Committee. We also have a new e-bulletin template which better reflects our branding identity.

Branding and merchandise
WE REDESIGNED our pop-up exhibition banners - which have already been displayed at federal and regional conferences - to reflect a more consistent ‘brand recognition’. Tahir Maher organised the production of new snazzy metal badges, which have been selling like hot-cakes! Pick up one at the AGM for £2.50.


Spring and regional conferences
WE HAVE had a presence at several Party gatherings this year including the Spring conference in Brighton where we ran a series of fringe debates and an exhibition stall. Entrepreneur Roger Lynch, who features in the Power List of successful BAME businesspeople, was a keynote speaker at a fringe ‘Has Race Fallen Off the Government Agenda?’, in partnership with the Lib Dem Disability Association (LDDA). We jointly submitted an emergency motion with LDDA to protect the ‘General Duty’ part of the Equality Act being axed. Although this motion did not attract enough votes to be debated, EMLD is pleased to say that our intensive lobbying of parliamentarians (led by Baroness Meral Hussein Ece) resulted in a Government U-turn. Lester Holloway gave a speech at the spring London Region conference in a session chaired by Merlene Emerson, and EMLD ran stalls at both London conferences this year, signing up new members and selling badges!

Dr Turhan Ozen and Lester Holloway at London Region conference. INSET: Entreprenuer Roger Lynch speaks at an EMLD fringe at Spring conference in Brighton. ALSO INSET: Nick Clegg visits EMLD’s stall, with the Rabi Martins (second right).




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