Introducing the Conservative Diversity Project
Aspiration. Opportunity. Freedom.
These are values which we, as Conservatives inherently believe in. We as a party believe that your success in life should not be defined by the colour of your skin, your gender, or whether you have a disability or not. The Conservative Diversity Project has been founded with this in mind, with the objective of fostering greater diversity and inclusion at grassroots level. For when we have greater representation from diverse communities, our politics is richer for it.
The more representative our politics is, the more accessible it becomes. The Conservative Party has done much to do this. The only two female Prime Ministers which this country has had, have come from this party. Three members of the current Cabinet are from ethnic minority backgrounds, holding two of the great offices of state. We have had the first British Asian to hold the post of Chancellor of the Exchequer. These are undoubtedly indicative of the progress we have seen in regards to diversity and inclusion, but we can do so much more.
Only six percent of Conservative MPs are BAME and less than one percent have a visible disability. Moreover, the House of Commons where our MPs sit consists of 65 MPs from non-White ethnic backgrounds. This is the highest number in its history, but if the House truly reflected the ethnic make-up of the population, there would be around 90.
The Conservative Diversity Project believes that training, raising awareness and mentoring are the keys to unlocking the further progress we want to see. By hosting ‘Diversity Dialogues’ we seek to understand the issues which are affecting our diverse communities the most, from the disproportionate impact that COVID has had on BAME communities, to local government selection processes. By sharing the experiences of diverse candidates who have stood for election, we aim to break the barriers to diverse candidates standing for election through sharing experiences and knowledge. Through mentor led training, we will empower our members with the skills, experiences and networks that they need to get the opportunity to succeed.
We as a party should be championing these causes. We should be encouraging more diverse initiatives. We must constantly be asking ourselves, who is not in the room? The emphasis and value that is now placed on diversity and inclusion did not come quickly or easily. It is now our responsibility to ensure that these values are practiced and upheld. It is why we at the Conservative Diversity Project seek to provide training to grassroots associations up and down this country, on how they can foster greater diversity and inclusion, and how they can champion the cause of greater diverse representation in elected office. This bottom-up approach is important. It will ensure the foundations of our party are representative. It will encourage more diverse candidate to seek selection, and our party will be better for it.
Labour have for too long believed that they have a monopoly on compassion, and diversity. It’s time we tackled this head on. To say with confidence that this Conservative Party has, and will continue to stand up for our diverse communities, to champion their voices, and welcome them. Our party is at its best when it is a broad church, not only on the political spectrum but when we have voices from all walks of life. As a party we should reach out and embrace the rich tapestry which is the diversity within our society.
The challenges we have faced as a country and a global community over the course of the last twenty years has done much to change the face of our politics. The next twenty will undoubtedly change our society. Our party should be at the vanguard of these changes; embracing further diverse representation and tackling the issues which face our communities in this country, and abroad.
Our party has always stood up in the face of adversity, and led our country to new beginnings. As we re-emerge from COVID, and recalibrate our country for the future, let diversity and inclusion be the new frontier of progress. If we can do this we can realise the reality of a country which works for everyone, built on the values of compassionate conservatism with freedom and opportunity for all.
We have been truly humbled by the support we have received thus far from numerous Members of Parliament and party activists. There is a clear appetite for change. Together, let’s embrace it and build a politics that is truly accessible for all.