Proposed all-black shortlists for MPs will not be extended to businesses

All-black shortlists, currently under consideration to increase the number of ethnic minority MPs, will not be allowed for UK businesses, the Cabinet Office has warned.

Women and equalities minister Harriet Harman commissioned a report from lobby group Operation Black Vote last year, to consider how to increase the number of black and minority ethnic (BME) MPs in Westminster.

Just 15 of 646 MPs are from ethnic minorities, and only two of those are women.

One of the recommendations being considered by ministers is the introduction of ethnic shortlists for four consecutive general elections.

Race discrimination law would have to change to enable this, as any such move now would count as illegal positive discrimination.

But the law change – if it went ahead – would have absolutely no knock-on effect for businesses trying to increase the number of BME employees, a spokeswoman for the Women and Equality Unit, part of the Cabinet Office, said.

She told Personnel Today: “The commissioned report is specifically linked to political parties [and not employers generally].”

All-black shortlists aimed at increasing the number of ethnic minority MPs at Parliament are not guaranteed, according to the spokeswoman.

“The report was commissioned ages ago by Harriet Harman, but there is no guarantee any of the recommendations will be acted on,” she said.

The race report has not been published but will be in the public domain “soon”, according to the spokeswoman.

Comments are closed.