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Cable appoints Adviser on Race Equality and Community Engagement

Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable has appointed Issan Ghazni MBE as his personal adviser to assist him in reaching out to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities, and in developing policies to reduce race inequalities in the United Kingdom.

Issan will be working closely with Vince Cable to advise on how the Party can better engage with and make itself relevant to BAME communities in the UK.

Issan was the Party’s first National Diversity Adviser from 2007 to 2010 and has a wealth of experience in race and equalities policy development and training. Issan worked within HQ and across the regions to establish early infrastructure, training and priorities for tackling inequality and lack of participation by under-represented groups.

During this period, Issan conducted a review into the state of diversity within the party, set up the Diversity Engagement Group, and supported a number of cross party diversity initiatives including the implementation of Equality Impact Assessments and established regional diversity champions and regional training programmes.

Issan has been asked to spearhead the delivery of the Leader’s Task Force to identify impact of and attitudes of BAME communities towards Brexit.

Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable said:

“Issan worked with me as the Party’s first National Diversity Adviser, and subsequently when I chaired the Lib Dems’ Diversity Engagement Group.

“I’m delighted he is offering his advice to me, as we help the Liberal Democrats fill the enormous space in the centre of British politics.  Key to this ambition is to do better among Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities, and Issan I know will help the party to do so.

“I raised a multi-ethnic family in the United Kingdom, so I know the subtle – and sometimes, not so subtle – barriers which exist. We must tear them down.

“I want to get out all round the country, addressing groups from every faith and ethnic background, to ensure the Lib Dem message of hope for the United Kingdom, with an exit from Brexit and a strong economy, is heard.”

Issan Ghazni added:

“Vince Cable’s leadership offers a huge opportunity to the Liberal Democrats to highlight the continuing race inequalities which exist in the United Kingdom and to offer solutions. It is important for the leadership to get the strong Lib Dem message of equality, fairness and social justice out to BAME communities at a time when inequalities and racism are still rife in our society.

“Having previously worked closely with Vince Cable, I am fully aware of his strong personal conviction towards eliminating discrimination and inequality and appreciate his genuine commitment to promoting race equality and community engagement.

“I will be working first on the dangers of Brexit for BAME communities, as only the Lib Dems offer an exit from Brexit.  Labour have abandoned their post as the hope of a progressive alternative in this country, starting the rot with Blairism, through the war in Iraq and now with Corbyn’s pro-Brexit stance.

“I look forward to working with Vince to improve the Lib Dems’ electoral standing in ethnic minority communities.”


Notes to Editors

A full biography of Issan Ghazni follows:

Issan grew up and has lived in Nottingham since childhood. He married Ghazala and had 4 children, two sons, Haroon and Rahil and two daughters, Paras and Aaila.

Issan went to Roland Green Comprehensive School in the Meadows and then to Peoples College of FE. He left Nottingham briefly to study Business Studies and Finance at Preston Polytechnic and later went to the University of Leicester to complete Postgraduate Studies in Human Resource Management.

After his education Issan set up a training and management consultancy practice in 1995 specialising in equalities, diversity and human rights working with public, private and voluntary community sector clients. In addition, Issan ran another consultancy practice which provided leadership training, coaching and performance services dedicated to support individuals and businesses.

Issan worked in senior roles and acted as specialist consultant and interim manager for a range of clients including the Learning and Skills Council, Centrex - Central Police Training and Development Authority, Capita Plc, NHS, Home Office, Cabinet Office, Department for Constitutional Affairs, National Probation Service, Independent Safeguarding Authority and the Legal Ombudsman. Issan worked as Diversity Consultant and Senior Manager within health and social care for both Primary Care Authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups. Issan also has extensive experience of working as consultant and interim manager within the third sector as Director of Regional Operations Central England for Arthritis Care and as Director for Voice4Change England.

Issan was appointed the Party’s first National Diversity Adviser from October 2007 to December 2010 and then subsequently left that role to become Special Adviser to Vince Cable MP in his capacity as Chair of the Diversity Engagement Group (DEG). During this period, Issan conducted a review into the state of diversity within the party, set up the DEG, and supported a number of cross party diversity initiatives including the implementation of Equality Impact Assessments and established regional diversity champions and regional training programmes. Issan subsequently continued to advise officers including the Party's Chief Executive Chris Fox and a range of parliamentarians including Tom Brake MP.

Issan was previously a Labour Councillor for Radford Ward 1987-91 and left to join the Liberal Democrats in 2003 when he could no longer identify with the direction Tony Blair was taking the party towards. The illegal, disastrous and unjustified war in Iraq proved to be the last straw. At that point Issan decided to sign up and come to rest in a more comfortable space when he saw Charles Kennedy speaking so passionately at anti-war demonstrations.

Issan stood as a Parliamentary Candidate in Nottingham East in 2005 where he achieved a 9.8% swing towards the Liberal Democrats and leapfrogged the Conservatives to come second place to Labour. Issan subsequently stood again in the local council elections in Berridge Ward and led a campaign team within the same constituency in 2007 - achieving a major swing to the Liberal Democrats and coming from a poor third place to within 20 votes of winning a historic victory over labour in one of their safest seats in the city.

Issan fought a strong campaign in 2013 to achieve 2nd place in the East Midlands list of candidates for the 2014 Euro Elections and proved to be the highest placed BAME Lib Dem candidate in the country having secured this position through direct internal elections.

 Issan was previously:

· Chair of the Nottingham City Liberal Democrats

· Chair of Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats (EMLD)

· Chair Liberal Democrat Muslim Network

Issan is a passionate campaigner for equality and fairness. Issan is widely recognised in the Party at all levels for contributing to promoting race equality, diversity and for setting up the Party's Diversity Engagement Group (DEG).

Issan received an MBE for services to politics and the public in 2015.

Issan had a health set-back in 2015 during which time he had a stroke following a back operation. Issan has been recuperating since then and is now looking forward to the challenges in supporting Vince Cable and the party to overcome barriers to race equality and in promoting community engagement.

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