THE morning update today included mention of Maajid Nawaz’s absence from last night’s Queens Park Resident Association hustings. He was doing a Channel 4 telly thing instead. While local Lib Dems may have got a sharp taste of the downside of having a national talking head as their candidate, Maajid sent an apologetic email to the organisers, namedropping former Lib Dem leader Lord Paddy Ashdown as having urged him to exchange the church hall tables for the TV debate. The hustings rattled on in Brent, while Maajid was in Birmingham.
I’m afraid I’ve been called away to Birmingham urgently tonight to join a Channel 4 live national panel with Krishnan Guru-Murthy at 7pm, on ethnic minority representation in politics alongside my cabinet & shadow cabinet counterparts Sajid Javaid MP & Sadiq Khan MP.
Ethnic minority & female representation in politics (or the lack of) is a matter close to my heart, and one that my party has lots of room for improvement in.
I was caught between representing my party nationally on an issue I care deeply about, and representing my campaign locally. In the end, Paddy Ashdown personally intervened late last night at midnight appealing for me to appear in Birmingham so I reluctantly agreed, after having refused twice before.
I am sorry to miss this hustings and offer Queen’s Park residents this Saturday afternoon to meet any who may have questions specifically for me. Virginia (copied), who will he there tonight will be able to help organise where we can meet on Saturday afternoon.
As an example of how seriously we take my absence, we are offering Lib Dem peer Lord Davnit Dholakia to take my place this evening, and I know that Keith and Virginia (copied) are working on logistics to make this happen.
I apologise again, and hope to see as many residents as possible on Saturday afternoon with Virginia.