Labour Friends of India, a representative group part of the UK’s Opposition Labour Party, on Saturday launched its new ‘Mahatma Gandhi Future Leaders Programme’ to encourage greater Indian diaspora representation in the elected offices of the party.
The group said that its new programme will cover modules such as community engagement, communications, social media, campaigns and leadership, with the aim of supporting Labour members from the Indian diaspora to put themselves forward for elected office and represent the party at all levels.
“All across our society, positions of power do not reflect the diversity of our country and our communities so I am really pleased that Labour Friends of India (LFIN) are launching a leadership programme to encourage more people from Indian origin to get involved in politics and to stand for elected office,” said Labour MP Angela Rayner, who is the Chair and Deputy Leader of the party.
“I’m determined that we use all of the talent and potential in our party and support people who haven’t previously considered getting involved in politics before,” she said, as she joined LFIN’s virtual celebrations to mark the 74th Indian Independence Day, which included yoga sessions, dance performances and inspirational stories.
“I am very pleased to see our communities joining us to celebrate Indian Independence Day and to find out more about our new Future Leaders Programme,” said LFIN Co-Chair Rajesh Agrawal, the Deputy Mayor of London.
“The Labour Party needs more diverse candidates coming forward to stand for election and this programme, which starts in October, will provide Indian Labour members with really useful skills and information to take that step,” he said.
Labour MP Darren Jones, LFIN Co-Chair and parliamentary lead, added: “As the parliamentary lead for Labour Friends of India, I would love to see more Indian origin representation in Parliament and across all levels of government in the UK. If you’re a Labour member who’d like support to step into a leadership role, this programme is for you.”
The move comes as the new Labour Party Leader Sir Keir Starmer makes attempts to reach out to the Indian diaspora in the UK and distance the party from a perceived hostile stance towards India under the previous leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.