Following the General Election, we're fighting hard for towards the 2018 council elections next May. As part of our commitment to helping promote minority candidates, I'm delighted to launch our new Eric Avebury fund to support promising candidates in key wards.
For those who don't know Eric, his son John has taken the time to write some words about Eric's life and the impact he had on both the Liberal Democrats and London in particular:
"My father was first elected as a Liberal councillor in 1960, two years before he was the victor in the sensational Orpington by-election. After becoming an MP, he found his calling as a civil liberties campaigner, working to reduce sectarianism in Northern Ireland and protect the rights of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community in the UK. After becoming a peer, my father took hundreds of refugee cases fghting the Home Office to prevent the deportation of vulnerable people, and win compensation for those unjustly kept in detention. It's not an exaggeration to say that there are hundreds of people who are British citizens today because of his efforts to encourage our often callous system to develop a conscience.
Eric would be proud that the Liberal Democrats are working to elect more members with a BME heritage, but I also know he would say there is so much more we can do. In London especially, we must show people that Labour is not the only option for people from minority backgrounds. We need to show ambitious, progressive people that opportunities exist for them in our party, and convince them of the emancipatory social and economic potential of Liberal ideas.This fund is a great way to support more diversity in our party.”
With the support of John and the rest of Eric's family, I'm delighted to invite you to be a founding trustee of the Eric Avebury fund. To take part, please select the amount you are able to give below. A donation of £250 or above will make you a Patron of the fund, but any contribution that you could make would be incredibly welcome: