Some sad losses of the night include Rob Marris, Wolverhampton South West, Sue Hayman in Halesowen & Rowley Regis and Lynda Waltho in Stourbridge. It was the night the Black Country went blue in Dudley, though Labour managed to hold on to Dudley North. It was a well deserved win for Ian Austin, now with a reduced but decisive 600 majority which was confirmed on a recount this afternoon. I've had the good fortune to be able to work with Ian over the last two years. As Regional Minister he's played a huge role helping alleviate the impact of the recession on the regional economy - a role that has taken him well beyond the boundaries of Dudley. But I've also seen his pretty amazing commitment as a local to Dudley North, and if Ian had not won it would indeed have been a big loss for the people of Dudley. He's a fighting force against the Tories and a fearless advocate for principled politics, and the rights of his constituents. News of the win has certainly made my afternoon!
Seema Malhotra is co-founder and Director of the Fabian Womens Network and a former National Chair of the Fabian Society. From May-Oct 2010 she was Political Advisor to Rt Hon Harriet Harman MP in the Leader of the Opposition's Office. She was the West Midlands Labour Party's regional policy coordinator and adviser to Regional Ministers Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP and Ian Austin MP. She is active in the Co-operative Party and Unite and speaks and writes in national media on gender issues, regional and national politics.
Seema is a freelance business and public services adviser and has over ten years experience with leading firms Accenture and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. She has worked with a range of government departments in the UK including Revenues and Customs, Ministry of Justice and the Home Office. She led the cross-Government programme Increasing Diversity in Public Appointments working with Whitehall, headhunters, business and community groups. She has also advised the video games industry on their child safety agenda.She is a former school governor and candidate for the London Assembly. In 2007 she was shortlisted for the Asian Women of Achievement awards.