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Labour Friends of India holds its first Women’s Community Engagement Forum


Manoj Ladwa hosted the Labour Friends of India’s third Community Engagement Forum this evening – the first devoted to women’s issues.

Designed first and foremost as an opportunity for senior Labour Party politicians to listen to the concerns of the community, there was a lively discussion between the guests and the panel.

The panel was made up of Yvette Cooper MP, Shadow Home Secretary; Seema Malhotra MP, Chair of the Women’s Engagement Forum; Barry Gardiner MP, Chair of Labour Friends of India and Manoj Ladwa, Chair of Labour Friends of India’s Community Engagement Programme.

The guests came from a wide range of backgrounds including the arts, industry, politics, finance and the Metropolitan Police. The discussion ranged from varied topics such as the underrepresentation of Indian women in politics, industry and the arts, immigration policy, to childcare and the effects of the Government’s cuts on women.

Labour Friends of India’s Community Engagement Programme emphasises the need to connect directly with the Indian community and proactively listen to their concerns. The programme will continue with similar events in the near future with forums designed to listen to all sections of the UK Indian community.

Manoj Ladwa said:

As the chair of Labour’s Indian Community Engagement Forum, it is important for me that we ensure we cover a cross section of our community. This forum was dedicated to women and issues particularly of interest to women in our community. There was a lively, two way discussion between the panel and the guests on issues which are too often neglected in public policy debate. I look forward to further dialogue between the Labour Party and the UK Indian community.

Seema Malhotra MP said:

The Labour Friends of India community engagement events are vital in listening to the concerns of the Indian community so that we can rebuild Britain together as a country where everyone has a stake, prosperity is fairly shared and we preserve the institutions that bind us together. It is particularly important that the voices of women are also heard at every level so that the experience of women’s lives is shared at the heart of Labour’s policy thinking.

The Rt Hon Yvette Cooper MP said:

It is imperative that politicians take the time to listen to the concerns of the people they represent, especially in these tough economic times. LFIN’s Community Engagement Programme is so important in that it gives a real voice all sectors of the UK Indian community at a time when the Government just isn’t listening.

Barry Gardiner MP said:

It was an evening of listening. Far too often we politicians are keen to tell people things. And far too often it is male politicians talking to men. We wanted to change that. So Yvette Cooper and Seema Malhotra were in the hot seat as leading female role models responding to the varied concerns of women in the Indian community.