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School of History

Mile End Institute: Who represents London?: Ethnicity, gender, and party in local government

16 May 2019

Time: 7:00 - 8:00pm


Councillor Asma Begum - Deputy Mayor, Tower Hamlets


Sunder Katwala - Director, British Future


Mercy Muroki - co-author of the study


Councillor Johnson Situ - Cabinet Member, Peckham


Professor Tony Travers - LSE


London's local government has served as a locus for ethnic minority political engagement for decades. The local arena was an important site for black and Asian political activity during the 1960s and 70s when much of the responsibility for tackling racism was passed to local government. When the first three black MPs entered the House of Commons in 1987, they had all served as local councillors beforehand. To this day, local office continues to be a gateway into national office for ethnic minorities. Despite this, very little is known about how representative local councillors are of London's population.


A new study by Queen Mary alumna Mercy Muroki and academic Prof. Philip Cowley reports local black and Asian representation across London for the first time in over 20 years. The study shows that, despite some advances, black and Asian Londoners continue to be underrepresented in most boroughs. Black men, in particular, see the poorest levels of representation whilst Asian men see the best levels. The study also found huge disparities between representation amongst Conservative and Labour councillors.


Join our panel to explore the current state of black and Asian representation across London, the reasons behind this, and what this means for the future."

Entry is free and open to the public (though booking is essential) and you are welcome to join us for a drinks reception afterwards. To book your ticket, visit

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