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Shadow equalities secretary Dawn Butler to stand for vacant Labour deputy leader post

Emma Powys Maurice November 7, 2019
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Dawn Butler is the first major candidate to replace Tom Watson as Labour deputy leader (Bloomberg)

Dawn Butler, Labour’s shadow women and equalities secretary, has announced she will stand to be the party’s deputy leader following Tom Watson’s decision to resign.

Butler is the first major candidate to put herself forward for the prominent role, which will be elected by party members.

She broke the news in an interview with Naomi Kerbel on Bloomberg TV when she was asked who she thought should step up to take Watson’s place.

Butler replied: “I thought very carefully about who should replace Tom, I’ve given it some thought, I will be throwing my hat in the ring.”

When Kerbel asked how Butler would handle potential discrimination in the role, she assured her: “I’ve got a track record of holding people to account around race and equality and justice.”

Dawn Butler is a staunch LGBT+ ally and a strong advocate for the long-promised (and long-delayed) reforms to the Gender Recognition Act.

She condemned the delays in an impassioned speech at the 2019 PinkNews Awards, declaring: “Who gives a sh*t? Just amend the act already. 108,000 people contributed to the consultation, just amend the goddamn act.”

Her speech received a standing ovation, and inadvertently started a row about gay giraffes.

Labour MP Dawn Butler
Dawn Butler explained the harsh reality of delaying the GRA. (Paul Grace)

Speaking on Bloomberg TV, Butler indicated how she would approach the role of deputy leader if she is successful.

“We want to transform the country, we want to make sure the country’s fairer,” she said. “We want to dismantle the structural barriers that hold people back.

“Whether you are working class, whether you’re black, whether you’re white, whether you’re a woman, whether you’re LGBTQIA+, there are structural barriers that hold people back and I want to, as deputy leader, change all of that – change the way the country is currently developing, change the way we’re seeing hate overcome hope and just change the script on all of that.

“And I think thats important and I think a Labour government will do that as well. We’ve got transformative policies that will just change the way we work and the way the world works.”

Related topics: Dawn Butler, Labour, shadow women and equalities secretary, women and equalities secretary

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