Labour has a long and proud history of tackling race equality and improving BAME representation. Race Equality Labour Consultation 2020

Labour has a long and proud history of tackling race equality and improving  BAME representation.

Labour has a long and proud history of tackling race equality and improving BAME representation. Race Equality Labour Consultation 2020

As a nation, we have made huge steps forward in the past fifty years in tackling issues around racism in society and discrimination against individuals from Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds. While progress has been made, these issues have still not been fully resolved and BAME communities continue to face discrimination and disadvantage.

Labour has a long and proud history of tackling race equality and improving BAME representation. Whether with the Race Relations Act in 1965, the 2010 Equality Act, or the seminal inquiry into institutional police racism following the murder of Stephen Lawrence, Labour leads the way in promoting and advocating race equality. Angela Rayner MP, the Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities will be leading on race equality within the Shadow Cabinet.

However, more work needs to be done to tackle structural issues affecting BAME communities – in relation to health and social care, housing, education, stop and search, business, employment, the arts, and civic and public life. It is also important to acknowledge the achievements and aspirations of our multicultural society in working towards a fair and just Britain for all.

That is why, alongside our support for BAME Labour, BAME Young Labour, professional networks, trade union Black workers groups, grassroots organisations, and the various Labour Friends groups, we have established a Race Equality Advisory Group to help shape and recommend a new race equality strategy as part of our future policy development.
The consultation will inform the Labour Party’s policy-making process. We want to build on the BAME Manifesto which we launched for the 2015 General Election and to spend the coming months in dialogue with a range of organisations and individuals to establish coherent and respected policies and solutions for tackling race inequality.

In the aftermath of the EU referendum there has been a sharp rise in intolerance and hostility towards EU nationals and members of the BAME community. The consultation is an opportunity for us to formulate policy that will protect and enhance race equality legislation.

Work of the Race Equality Advisory Group

The best way to make policy is to draw on the diverse experience and expertise of those it will impact the most. To help us achieve this, we have recently formed a Race Equality Advisory Group who will help us diversify our policy making process in relation to race equality. Established in February 2016, the group consists of experts in race equality, policy development and campaigning, as well as community activists. It will make suggestion to the Labour Party’s Shadow Minister for Women

and Equalities on the formulation of a race equality strategy based on academic research, policy reports, and professional experience and insights. It will give a diverse perspective on the current situation and policy direction around race equality and to engage BAME communities in sharing experiences and shaping policy.

The group will meet at various times throughout the year to stimulate and oversee the development of policy ideas and learning. It holds consultation events to promote discussion and debate on the changing nature of race inequalities and social justice and on the changes and solutions needed.

Membership of Advisory Group

The advisory group comprises of experts, stakeholders and activists who are passionate about diversity and racial equality. The chair of the group is Patrick Vernon MBE who is a health expert and experienced campaigner with a background in equality and diversity.

Policy Questions

The Advisory Group and the Shadow Minister are keen to engage with a range of stakeholders and communities. To complement our nationwide discussion events we invite comments online in response to the following questions. Your answers will help shape our work programme, policy and priorities.

1. What would you identify as the key issues and themes around race equality that need to be addressed over the next five to ten years?
2. What are the top three policy measures/actions you would like to see to promote race equality?
3. What is the best way to ensure race equality is given full consideration in the policy development process and manifesto development of the Labour Party?
4. What action should be taken to help eliminate race discrimination in the United Kingdom?
5. What action should be taken to protect race equality legislation now that the UK has decided to leave the European Union?

Dialogue and Engagement Events and Meetings

The Race Equality Advisory Group and Shadow Equalities Minister, Angela Rayner MP are keen to engage with a wide range of people and we would welcome events and discussion groups to help facilitate this. Please contact us if you would like more details about upcoming events in your area or if you are interested in hosting an event on race equality.

Contact: Huma Haq- Political Advisor to Angela Rayner MP- Women and Equalities.
Social media: #RaceEquality2020

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  5 March 2020

MCB submits new dossier of Conservative Islamophobia to EHRC, with evidence of over 300 individuals

Today, the Muslim Council of Britain has renewed its call to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to investigate the Conservative Party over allegations of Islamophobia.

The MCB’s call comes with an updated dossier of incidents involving over 300 individuals, including councillors and party members, new MPs and even Number 10 special advisers, including Dominic Cummings and Andrew Sabisky.

Read the MCB’s full letter to the EHRC.

Since becoming Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has made a number of strong statements against Islamophobia and against the tolerance of Islamophobia in the Conservative Party. He has claimed the Party has a “zero tolerance approach… we have one bounce and we deal with it approach to this.” The Party has also separately confirmed anti-Islam comments “have no place in society”. Unfortunately, this does not appear to be the case, with scores of incidents showing a pattern of behaviour ignoring complaints of Islamophobia and allowing those found to have engaged in Islamophobia to retain their membership, and often, their elected positions.

The Muslim Council of Britain first reported the Conservative Party to the EHRC in May 2019. It provided evidence of Islamophobia and anti-Islam remarks from 150 Party members. The EHRC has thus far failed to respond to the Muslim Council of Britain and has given no indication as to whether it intends to investigate.

With a number of candidates during the election found to have made Islamophobic remarks, and the Conservative Party reneging on its promise to hold an independent inquiry into Islamophobia, this request has been resubmitted, expanding on the case originally submitted with fresh evidence some of which has never been covered publicly, including:

Dominic Cummings, Chief Adviser to the Prime Minister, had overall responsibility for The Spectator website when a controversial cartoon of Prophet Muhammad with a bomb in his turban was posted, with a caption feeding into the false, far-right, Islamophobic trope about a Muslim ‘takeover’.
Andrew Sabisky, former Adviser to the Prime Minister, questioned in a book review whether a growing Muslim population could be countered with violent resistance, using a discredited statistic.
Andrew James Tagg, former Calderdale Councillor, called for “unconditional surrender” by Muslims, labelling Muslims as “brutes who beat kill and main young women”.
Thor Halland, Chairman of Leyton and Wanstead Conservative Association, called for Muslims to be banned.
Sandy Lancaster, a party member, called for Muslims to be thrown from bridges and Lisa Gilfillan Johnston, also a party member, called for Muslims to be forcibly sterilised.
The submission contains further details of 16 MPs, one MEP, nine Prospective Parliamentary Candidates, 103 councillors, former councillors and former mayors, 183 party members and five advisers to the Conservative Party or Government.

Of these nine Prospective Parliamentary Candidates, three have become MPs despite their behaviour and calls for them to resign ahead of the election:

Sally Ann Hart, MP for Hastings and Rye, shared a post by an anti-Islam activist which claimed the Women’s March against President Trump had been hijacked by the Muslim Brotherhood to promote the “Muslim agenda”.
Anthony Browne, MP for South Cambridgeshire, questioned the loyalty of Muslims to Britain when responding to Muslim leaders’ concerns about the Iraq War.
Karl McCartney, MP for Lincoln, retweeted Islamophobic and anti-Semitic posts by Tommy Robinson and Katie Hopkins.
The letter outlines a clear case made up of five key pillars against the Conservative Party: Islamophobia among MPs, an atmosphere of hostility against Muslim Party members, the scale of Islamophobia in the Party, the failure of the complaints process and the denial of Islamophobia. The complaints process is particularly problematic with its failure to uphold transparency. There are scores of cases where the Conservative Party has failed to reveal whether an individual has been suspended, had their membership revoked, or been readmitted into the Party, and similarly, the Party refuses to confirm how many cases of Islamophobia it is investigating at any time.

Concerns about the way in which the Conservative Party has thus far failed to take meaningful action on its problem of Islamophobia, and calls for the Conservative Party to be investigated over this have been made by a number of prominent Muslims in the Conservative Party, including Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, former co-chair of the Party, Lord Sheikh, founder of the Conservative Muslim Forum, and Sajjad Karim, former Conservative MEP for the West Midlands, who spoke about a senior serving minister having made Islamophobic comments about him.

Commenting, Harun Khan, Secretary General of the MCB said:

“Having furnished the Equality and Human Rights Commission with evidence of over 100 incidents of Islamophobia in the Conservative Party ten months ago, we find it extraordinary that the Commission has failed to give any response, let alone inform us and British Muslims as to whether action will be taken.

“Two years ago, we estimated that there were cases of Islamophobia being identified in the Party on a weekly basis. Now, with over 300 documented incidents, it appears our estimation was too low.

“There is no doubt that the Conservative Party has an Islamophobia crisis: it is institutional, systemic and widespread. The Party’s response has been one of denial, dismissal and deceit. This results in clear discrimination against Muslims because of their religion. Islamophobia is never acceptable, yet this dossier cites hundreds of individuals – including many in significant positions of power and influence – who have made horribly offensive comments about Muslims that would not be tolerated for any other section in our society.

“The EHRC has a duty to uphold the Equality Act, and this responsibility includes investigating where there are allegations of discrimination. The absence of meaningful action by the Conservative Party despite the wealth of evidence makes it all the more important that the EHRC recognises the impact of this level of Islamophobia in our governing party, and takes swift action.”


Conservative Party, Islamophobia

MCB Press Release

EHRC decision not to probe Islamophobia in the Conservative Party is Racist and Islamophobic

Open Letter to EHRC 15 May 2020 – EHRC decision not to probe Islamophobia in the Conservative Party is Racist and Islamophobic.


We, the undersigned, call on the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to reverse its decision and commit to probe Conservative Party Islamophobia.

The EHRC has failed the Muslim community by deciding not to formally investigate the Conservative Party over widespread and persistent allegations of Islamophobia.

The equalities watchdog said yesterday that a probe “would not be proportionate” because the Conservative Party had committed to carrying out its own investigation.

We note the glaring discrepancy between the EHRC’s treatment of the Labour Party over allegations of anti-Semitism and its latest decision.

Last year the EHRC launched a probe into Labour after receiving allegations that anti-Semitism was rife in the party. Now it refuses to offer the same treatment when widespread and credible allegations of Islamophobia are directed towards the Conservatives.

As it is the Party of government, Islamophobia in the Conservative Party stands to affect every single one of Britain’s three million Muslims.

By leaving a Party which has effectively fanned the flames of Islamophobia in Britain to police itself, the EHRC is failing in its duty to protect Britain’s Muslims.

Behaving selectively in its treatment of minorities opens the EHRC to credible charges that it is in itself an institutionally discriminatory organisation that cannot be trusted in its remit to enforce equality and non-discrimination law in the UK.

The EHRC should be our national guardian of human rights. By deciding not to investigate Islamophobia in the Conservative Party the EHRC demonstrates that it is reneging on that responsibility; behaving in an effectively racist and Islamophobic manner towards all Muslim communities; and calls into question the integrity and probity of its entire body of work on equalities and anti-discrimination matters in the UK. Non Muslim people with protected characteristics are rightly alarmed by this discrimination in handling matters and point to Martin Luther King’s observation that: *” Injustice anywhere is a threat to Justice everywhere”*.

We urge the EHRC to reconsider its decision and to commit unequivocally to carry out the investigation into Islamophobia in the Conservative Party, that it was rightly called upon to undertake by the Muslim Council of Britain.