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Monday, July 5, 1999 Published at 09:07 GMT 10:07 UK

UK Politics

Call for ethnic minority candidates

Devolution joy - but Wales has no ethnic minority AMs

Political parties have been blamed for the failure of any black or ethnic minority candidates to become Assembly Members or MPs in Wales.

The Commission for Racial Equality said the parties have to encourage members of the black and ethnic minority communities to come forward.

[ image: Cherry Short: Call for more ethnic minority AMs]
Cherry Short: Call for more ethnic minority AMs
The only black candidate to stand in the elections to the National Assembly in May was Cherry Short, who fought the traditional Conservative constituency of Monmouth for Labour.

But she was defeated by the Conservatives' David Davies by 2,712 votes.

Monmouth was the only constituency seat the Tories took in the election. The Tories' eight other Assembly Members were elected through the proportional representation system of regional list members.

Cherry Short said selection procedures for candidates for Parliament and the Assembly must change. She called for "positive action" to improve the situation.

[ image: Sir Herman Ouseley: Parties are to blame]
Sir Herman Ouseley: Parties are to blame
The head of the Commission for Racial Equality, Sir Herman Ouseley, said the problem lay with the way the parties made decisions on who gets elected as candidates.

He said the parties must take responsibility for the absence of ethnic minorities in the National Assembly.

Earlier this year, the Assembly was warned that it was expected to address the concerns of ethnic minorities in Wales as a priority.

Judge Ray Singh, the Commission for Racial Equality's Welsh commissioner, said he was disappointed that the new body has no non-white members, and has called for it to set up an equality committee as quickly as possible.

He called on the assembly to develop a racial equality agenda for Wales.

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