DIVA columnist Phyll Opoku-Gyimah confirms she will contest London by-election

If successful, she’d be the first black lesbian MP in the UK


Phyll Opoku-Gyimah says she is "nervous but excited" to stand as a Labour MP


UK Black Pride director and DIVA columnist Phyll Opoku-Gyimah has confirmed her intention to stand in the Lewisham East by-election as a Labour candidate, telling DIVA she will be making her official declaration within the next 48 hours.


Phyll, who is currently head of equalities and learning at PCS Union, is hotly tipped for the safe Labour seat made vacant when incumbent MP Heidi Alexander announced she would be stepping down to work with Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. If successful, she would be the first black lesbian MP in the UK.


Alexander, shadow health minister until 2016, had held the south London seat for eight years with a majority of 21,000. 


Phyll, right, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Dawn Butler, MP for Brent Central


Confirming her intention to stand, Phyll told DIVA she was “nervous but excited” and said: “I come from a long line of women who refused to be silent. Women who stood up to be counted and who have worked tirelessly in advancing equality, justice and freedom for all.


“While I am nervous about stepping forward in such a public arena, I do so with the confidence of all those who believe in me, who know that our future in this city and far beyond is worth fighting for, and who will be energised by the possibility of an all-woman, all BAME by-election shortlist.”



Senior figures within Labour told Huffington Post that the party “hopes to draft its first ever all-woman, all BAME by-election shortlist” in the coming weeks with Phyll likely to face competition from council members Brenda Dacres and Sakina Sheikh, among others.



Only reading DIVA online? You're missing out. For more news, reviews and commentary, check out the latest issue. It's pretty badass, if we do say so ourselves.


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