Stephen Williams MP - working hard for Bristol West

Stephen Williams MP and Cllr Barbara Janke back Operation Black Vote's councillor shadowing scheme

11.30.37am BST (GMT +0100) Wed 27th Sep 2006

operation black vbote

Liberal Democrat MP for Bristol West, Stephen Williams, and Leader of Bristol City Council, Barbara Janke, have today expressed their support for the re-launch of Operation Black Vote's Councillor Shadowing Scheme, which sees politicians of all parties accompanied on their daily duties by individuals from the Black and Minority Ethnic communities.

OBV are looking for ten people to spend 10-12 non-consecutive days with a high ranking councillor. The scheme aims to demystify local government and encourage people from all communities to stand for election or participate more fully in the democratic process. The award winning scheme is currently the only one of its kind in the country.

Stephen Williams said "As elected representatives, we have a responsibility to ensure that the next crop of councillors and MPs is coming up through the ranks. We need to ensure that these people represent Bristol's diverse community, in terms of gender, sexuality, age, social background, disability, religion and colour. It is a scandal that even in this day and age, people still think of politicians as being older white men in grey suits. It is therefore not surprising that people feel cut off from the political process. Operation Black Vote are to be congratulated for their diligent work in righting these wrongs. I would hope to see a similar scheme for MPs within the not too distant future and certainly take part myself," he added.

Barbara Janke added "For anyone whose only connection with the Council is receiving a Council Tax Bill once a year, local government can often seem unnecessarily complex and unwieldy. I have seen first hand how this scheme helps to engage people from across the city in how to change people's lives for the better and give people hope that one person can make a difference to our city, whatever their background or ethnic origin.

"The Liberal Democrats in particular are committed to this scheme and keen to give as many people as possible a wide range of experience both in the Council House and campaigning out on the streets of Bristol," she added.

For a Councillor Shadowing Scheme application form please contact OBV on:




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Next news story: Stephen Williams MP praises Bristol based charity (Fri 6th Oct 2006).

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