Page last updated at 07:31 GMT, Tuesday, 24 June 2008 08:31 UK

Council chambers 'need diversity'

Anjana Patel
Anjana Patel became a Harrow councillor to "make a difference"

More women, ethnic minorities and young people are being urged to become local councillors as part of a new campaign.

The 'Be a Councillor' campaign aims to make council chambers in London representative of the communities in which they serve.

Women make up more than half of London's population but hold less than a third of council seats in the city.

The campaign is organised by London Councils, the cross-party body which represents all 33 London boroughs.

'Range of Londoners'

"We believe local government in London should reflect the vast range of Londoners," said Cllr Merrick Cockell, chairman of London Councils.

I got involved because I wanted the system to work better - for me and the many that would come after me.
Anjana Patel, Harrow councillor

"London's councils are central to encouraging talented people from all walks of life, religions, genders and ethnic groups to stand for election."

London has 1,861 councillors, with less than one in five of them describing themselves as belonging to a non-white ethnic group. This is despite a third of London's population describing themselves in the same way.

Similarly, young people and those under 45 make up just 30% of all councillors.

Harrow councillor Anjana Patel speaking on behalf of the campaign said: "I got involved because I wanted the system to work better - for me and the many that would come after me.

"I wanted to make a difference for the local community."




SEE ALSO
Councils 'must be more diverse'
08 Feb 07 |  UK Politics

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