In June 2020, the Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, announced a review of the diversity of the Parliamentary Art Collection.
From speaking to constituents, I believe that one of the key sentiments to come out of lockdown has been a renewed appreciation for the myriad of fellow citizens who unrelentingly feed, clothe and sustain us. Particularly so in our recent hour of Covid need.
Having reflected on this, I have been working alongside campaigning organisation ‘We Too Built Britain’, to further the argument that there should be new artwork in Westminster to honour NHS and Key Workers.
Coupled with a strong desire for more fairness, one driven by the commonality of our recent experience, the enhanced empathy of the British public means any celebration of key workers – artistic or otherwise – must be inclusive of all and genuinely diverse. Anything less would undermine the sense of belonging and community spirit so many of us have recently and so vividly experienced.
As such, I have today submitted a petition, alongside 60 cross-party MPs, to the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art asking that key workers including NHS staff – many of who are from ethnic minority backgrounds – have their contribution recognised in the corridors of power.
While it is a very small step in showing our appreciation to the front line workers that have kept the nation running during this crisis, I think it is a real chance for Parliament to get it right first time and show it can connect with and lead on this strong public sentiment.
As ever, I’ll keep you updated on this issue as it progresses in the coming months, but for now you can read more about this in the Evening Standard article below: