Batley & Spen MP Co-Chairs a Parliamentary Commission Featuring Award Winning Actress Cush Jumbo

In recent months Tracy, alongside fellow MP Gloria De Piero, has been looking at working class representation in the performing arts.

The commission, launched by Labour Party Deputy Leader Tom Watson MP, has spent the last few months looking at representation of working class people in both on-screen and off-screen roles, as well as taking evidence both inside and outside of Parliament. The commission is due to report back this summer and recommend policy solutions to the problems it finds.

In the final session which took place today, saw a packed committee room hear from Cush Jumbo, Deborah Williams, John Cannon, Lee Mason and Cassie Chadderton.

Jumbo, star of TV series The Good Wife, used the evidence session to convey her experiences as a working class mixed race actress. She spoke of being told her South London accent was “lazy” and always being cast as the “exotic best friend”. She also told MPs that she received far more opportunities in America than she did in Britain.

Commenting afterwards, Batley and Spen MP Tracy Brabin said;

“I’m delighted so many high profile and senior creatives came to our evidence session to tell us about their experiences and what the industry is doing to improve our on-screen diversity.

“So many of the stories told reminded me of the problems I faced making my way as a working class actress.

“That’s why I’m delighted that we in Batley are leading from the front.

“This summer’s Les Misérables is a fantastic opportunity for kids from a diverse range of backgrounds to come together and get experience in the performing arts. I can’t wait to see the final show and encourage everyone to come along”.

The special production of Les Misérables, dedicated to Jo Cox, will take place in Batley this August and features school children from diverse backgrounds from all over the area whilst being overseen by West End practitioners, including award winning director Nick Evans.