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Yvette Cooper's plan to get more black people in to politics

SPEECH: Yvette Cooper will introduce a diversity champion, she said

A DIVERSITY CHAMPION will be introduced as part of Yvette Cooper's agenda to usher politics into the 21st Century, the Labour leadership candidate has announced.

As the contest approaches its final stages, the MP for Pontefract and Castleford has pledged a number of radical changes to make politics more "relevant to people's lives".

She said: "As I have made clear throughout the leadership campaign, Parliament should look like the country it represents and we have a lot of work to do to make that a reality.

"That's why I've set out plans to introduce a new shadow cabinet position to represent the interests of young people, and to increase the number of women, people from BME communities, disabled people and young people putting themselves forward as candidates, not just in Parliament but in local government as well."

She added: "It is clear people want to see a new kind of politics, one that represents them and one they can relate to. That means providing a radical and credible alternative to the Tories. It also means changing the process of politics itself, so people have more power and Parliament no longer appears like a closed off gentlemen's club."

Labour, historically, has been respected for its commitment to diversity including introducing landmark race relations legislation and the first party to elect black MPs.

In recent years, however, those numbers have stagnated. At the same time, the Conservatives have made a push to attract fresh talent from diverse backgrounds.

To fast forward her ambition of a parliamentary makeover, the MP has said she will introduce a diversity champion responsible for increasing representation at all levels of the Labour Party from BAME communities as well as disabled people and women.

The shadow home secretary, who has the support of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, also unveiled a number of policy pledges including creating a new shadow cabinet position for young people and campaigning to lower the voting age to 16.

The shadow cabinet role will have responsibility for ensuring young people's interests are reflected in Labour's policy offer and that their voices are heard on important policy platforms like the annual party conference.

The party had previously created a ministerial role for young citizens and youth engagement.

Brent MP Dawn Butler was only person to hold the position before it was scrapped when the coalition government came to power in 2010.

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