By Maya Evans
I am deeply disappointed not to have made the longlist to be Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Hastings and Rye constituency. I have not been given any reason or evidence as to why I did not make the longlist, despite trade union backing which should have guaranteed my place according to Labour’s rules.
I will continue to work hard for Hastings Labour, especially in my role as deputy leader of the council, and as lead for housing and community development. I have lived and worked in Hastings for nearly 20 years – nothing and no one will extinguish my desire to stand up for our community.
I would like to thank everyone who supported my campaign, especially the trade unions Unite, ASLEF and TSSA. As Saturday’s massive cost-of-living demonstration in London showed, our trade unions are more important now than ever.
Though my campaign has proved short-lived, I have also been touched by a huge outpouring of support from both those inside the Labour Party and outside. I am especially pleased to have gained endorsement from climate activists, in this critical moment for our planet.
Lastly, thanks to the huge support from the Hastings & Rye Labour Party who have supported and championed me over the last five years – you really are a family to me.
In my time as a councillor I became the first woman of colour on Hastings Borough Council, and the first person of colour to reach a senior leadership position. I will continue to push the boundaries of what is possible for those discriminated against and oppressed.
In this regard, I am concerned about the growing pattern of left-wing BAME women – including Labour leaders in local government like myself – being prevented by the national Labour Party from standing for selection. In Hastings two BAME women have been blocked, despite enjoying significant local and trade union support. No justification has been given for my exclusion.
As we fall further into the cost-of-living and climate crises, I urge everyone to remain united and focused. Hastings & Rye Labour Party is a CLP which thinks globally but actions locally and stands up for ordinary people. This work is too important for us to give up now.
Maya Evans is Deputy Leader of Hastings Borough Council
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