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Selection processes questioned

The Health Secretary, Alan Johnson, says that the party needs to "look at the structures" in the party which he conceded made it very difficult for a UK Barack Obama to emerge.

Alan Johnson was responding to questions about whether or not someone from an ethnic background could become prime minister.

Although he dismissed claims by Trevor Phillips that the Labour Party is institutionally racist, he did admit that the process needed to be addressed.

He said: "I don't agree with Trevor Philips but I do think we need to look at our structures.

"We've got some people that have come through the system, Dawn Butler, David Lammy, Shahid Malik, Sadiq Khan, from black, minority ethnic population but I was hearing things when I was running for Deputy Leader about sometimes the procedures to get through to be selected as a candidate are quite difficult for people from that kind of background."

Mr Johnson failed in his bid to come Labour's Deputy Leader during the contest in 2007.

Shortlisting candidates

He also suggested that the party should consider shortlisting their candidates to reflect the communities they would represent.

Also on the programme... Jon Sopel interviewed Liam Fox MP - see the interview here...

Under his idea, at the time of selecting a new MP, a constituency with a high ethnic population should have a shortlist, including a high number of ethnic candidates.

"I think personally... that people on the short list ought to reflect the community and the percentage of the community should be reflected on the short list.

"So I think we ought to look at that."

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