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Maidstone MP Helen Grant calls for ethnically diverse new £50 note

By Georgia Woolf

A motion - backed by a Kent MP - calling for the Bank of England to make an ethnic minority person the face of the new £50 note is set to be debated in parliament today.

Earlier this year, a group of cross-party MPs signed a letter to Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, urging for "a wider diversity is represented" on the new bank note.

Helen Grant, the MP for Maidstone and the Weald, is among those that signed the letter to the bank's governor.

MP Helen Grant. Picture: Andy Jones
MP Helen Grant. Picture: Andy Jones

The Conservative Party vice-chairman said that choosing a white scientist for its new banknote would send a damaging message that ethnic minorities were "invisible."

The MP, who is of mixed heritage herself with a white mother and a Nigerian father is set to introduce a bill in Parliament today.

She previously said: "The bank has a duty to ensure wider diversity is represented on our currency."

"Britain’s diverse communities have contributed so much to Britain’s history, culture and progress and it would be fitting to celebrate that immense contribution by having a person of colour on our currency for the very first time.

"This is a great opportunity to celebrate Britain’s openness and to recognise the communities that have helped to build modern Britain."

New £50 notes (8196875)
New £50 notes (8196875)

To date, there have only been four women represented on British banknotes and no-one from an ethnic minority.

The current £50 note features Matthew Boulton and James Watt, leaders of British industrial revolution.

Last year, a public consultation attracted 227,299 nominations from members of the public after the Bank of England announced it is looking for a scientist to go on the new £50 notes.

This has been filtered down to 989 eligible candidates, with a final decision set to be announced this summer.

The new note will be produced in a polymer material similar to the recently introduced £5 and £10 notes.

Head to our politics page for expert analysis and all the latest news from your politicians and councils.

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