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Labour reveals all-woman BME shortlist for Edmonton

SHORTLIST: Kate Osamor

LABOUR HAS taken a step to answer critics who have accused them of not supporting black representation by revealing a shortlist of black and ethnic minority women for a seat in Edmonton.

The three candidates - Ayfer Orhan, Kate Anolue and Kate Osamor - were revealed last night following interviews with a longlist of 12.

More than 100 Labour hopefuls had initially put their hat in the ring to become the next MP in the north London constituency.

The incumbent, Andy Love, is to step down at the General Election. He has held the Labour safe seat since 1997.

The final decision will be made on February 21.

Orhan and Anolue are both Labour councillors in Enfield.

Orhan, of Turkish descent, is the cabinet member for education, while Anolue is a former mayor.

Osamor, seen as a frontrunner, is a GP practice manager in Edmonton and a well-known union activist.

She is also the daughter of Martha Osamor, a former Haringey councillor and community leader on the Broadwater Farm estate in Tottenham.

She was famously selected by the local Vauxhall Labour party in Brixton, south London for a by-election in 1989, only to be controversially removed by Neil Kinnock prompting a race row.

Osamor was also vice-chair of the party's Black Section.

Some of those who did not make the shortlist include Enfield Council leader, Doug Taylor, and Joanne McCartney, the London Assembly Member for Enfield and Haringey.

Another candidate who missed out was longstanding Labour councillor in Lambeth, Kingsley Abrams.

He later resigned from the party but insisted his decision had nothing to do with not being shortlisted but rather because of a bigger issue of black male representation and because the party under Ed Miliband had failed to differentiate itself enough from the Conservatives.

In a statement, he said: "The NEC has not put a single African Caribbean man with any previous elected experience on a single NEC shortlist for the past 15 years, yet then the party sheds crocodile tears when people challenge its record on representation.

"Furthermore, the Labour Party has actively undermined possibilities for African Caribbean men to have the opportunity to stand for parliament by virtue of the way that it has implemented its policy on all-women shortlists."

Abrams said he made the decision with a "heavy heart". He has been a Labour member for 30 years and a councillor for 24 years.

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