Black Lib Dems say the party is starving them of cash


THE LIBERAL Democrats have been accused of starving their racial diversity funds in order to carry out their work.

The Racial Diversity Campaign (RDC), launched after a scathing review of racial equality in party structures, has complained that it has been forced to pay out of pocket to keep the campaign going.

The RDC received £ 5,000 in August to “increase the number of ethnic minority MPs and those in senior positions in local government.”

In her annual report to the Lib Dem national conference, RDC chairman Ade Adeyemo said: “Despite the lack of financial support from the party, the RDC board has worked very hard to get the organization up and running.

“So far we have personally borne all costs to ensure that the RDC activities can move forward. However, this situation is neither sustainable nor desirable. “

Black members have previously complained about the lack of resources to support the 2018 Review by Lord Alderdice – who recommended creating the RDC.

There have also been complaints of a lack of support for the Vice Presidency, which is dedicated to promoting equality.

The Liberal Democrats – and their previous incarnations of the SDP, Liberals, and Whigs – have never had an MP from an African, Caribbean, or black mixed background.

They also never had a black member elected to a regional assembly or to any public office above the level of a ward council.

Two black MPs elected for Labor and the Conservatives – Chuka Umunna and Sam Gyimah – briefly represented the Lib Dems after crossing the floor in 2019, but both lost their seats in the general election just months later.

Last year Sir Ed Davey pledged to enforce the “Rooney Rule” of candidate selection when he ran for party chairman, but the idea is reportedly bogged down in internal committees and was not presented to delegates at their fall conference last month.

A rising star candidate for Parliament, Mr Adeyemo wrote in his report to the conference: “It is disappointing (and frustrating) that halfway through our three-year term the party did not fund RDC activities.

“Everything we have achieved so far happened despite a lack of financial support or a budget from Lib Dem HQ.

“A year after my conference report for 2020, the RDC manager still has to pay out of pocket for hosting websites, online surveys, video conferencing and other ancillary costs. The party’s continued inaction is very worrying. ”

The now-defunct Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats (EMLD) had also raised concerns about their annual budget, believed to be around £ 6,000, which was returned to the party to pay for a standing and fringe meeting at the party convention with virtually no money for other work.

The group that replaced EMLD, the Liberal Democrat Campaign for Racial Equality (LDCRE), is “deeply angry” that recommendations from the Alderdice review are not being implemented more effectively, according to the party magazine Liberator.

Noting that the party had been conducting audits for “nearly two decades”, Lord Alderdice said it was time to make racial diversity “a top priority”.

James Jennings, a prominent racial equality activist in the party who quit the Lib Dems last year after 15 years of membership, said The voice: “When I ran for Vice President of the party, I asked them, ‘What resources are you putting into this?’ They said ‘none’. So I said ‘what exactly are you going to do then?’

“We just got the crumbs. The party is institutionally racist and deeply rooted. I mean, look at what’s going on in the country in general regarding the Black Lives Matter agenda – they haven’t come up with a credible answer at all. “

The Lib Dems were asked to comment.

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