'Keep our equality voices'

Unite delegate Susan Matthews speaks out against CLPs 'turning back the clock on equality representation'

Reading time: 3 min

Unite delegate Susan Matthews gave a powerful speech on the first day of the Labour Party Conference on Sunday (October 8), opposing the Constitutional Amendments group ‘Getting our CLPs election ready’.

Susan highlighted that at the Labour Party Conference in 2018, she spoke in support of additional equality officers in Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) being created so that they have “a voice and a vote to make sure our CLPs are properly representative of the local communities we want to mobilise in campaigns – including the general election”.

Susan noted that this group “contains an amendment to abolish those equality voices to become the voiceless”.

“At a time of rising racism and growing discrimination in our society today, as demonstrated by the Windrush generation, why is the party seeking to turn back the clock on equality representation in our CLPs?” she said.

“Why does the party think that when we are making the case for equality reps to be recognised with statutory rights in our workplaces, why are we undermining equality positions in our CLPs?” Susan continued.

Susan went on to say that if the issue was that some CLPs have struggled to fill those positions, then, she added, “why hasn’t the party supported CLPs to organise and include the diversity of our local communities and ensure they are represented in our local structures?”

“Why is getting rid of equality voices that would represent our wider communities and society seen as part of ‘getting our CLPs election ready’ when it is going in the opposite direction?” Susan asked conference.

Concluding her speech, Susan said, “I urge you to vote against the group ‘Getting our CLPs election ready’ to keep our equality voices in our CLPs.”

By Hajera Blagg

Pic by Mark Thomas