Labour should set up its own independent body to deal with bullying complaints and do more to encourage people into politics, according to Eddie Izzard.
The comedian and activist is running for a place on the party’s ruling National Executive Committee, and is calling on all candidates to adopt his ‘Inclusivity Action Plan’ to bring down barriers preventing those from less traditional backgrounds from getting involved.
Izzard, who is transgender, wants to see more women, BME, LGBT and disabled MPs in Parliament and has put inclusivity and tolerance at the top of his campaign agenda.
His new plan proposes:
- An accessibility audit of Labour candidate selection processes, led by members who have different barriers to participation.
- A candidate recruitment unit be set up within the party to support ethnic minority groups, people from working class backgrounds, and the disabled and LGBT communities.
- A ‘friendly charter’ pinned to the wall at every Labour Party meeting.
- An independent complaints body to tackle bullying.
Izzard, who is running as an independent candidate, also wants Labour to be part of the Stonewall Diversity Champions scheme, an employers’ programme for ensuring all LGBT staff are accepted in the workplace, and become “more of a community movement”, focused on tackling loneliness.
Blogging for HuffPost UK, he said: “I’m launching my Inclusivity Action Plan to make the Labour Party a more open, welcoming party, which doesn’t do ‘politics as usual’ but which breaks down barriers and gives people who might have felt excluded from politics before, an equal chance to take part in our movement.
“Labour has a proud record on equality and diversity, but I believe we can make our party event better. Whilst there is competition for the National Executive Committee places now, I hope that all candidates can adopt this plan, so that we can show that working together, we can strengthen the Labour Party’s rich diversity, and make it even more in touch with the public.
“Taking part in the Labour Party can be positive for our members, but we can be positive in our communities too, tackling twenty first century social ills, such as loneliness, and reconnecting with people who may have turned away from us.”
New members can join Labour and vote for their preferred NEC candidates until Sunday, November 19, but those backed by Corbyn-supporting group Momentum - including its founder, Jon Lansman - are expected to sweep to victory.