Boris Johnson had a “problem” in responding to a controversial report on race on account of his “bad track record on the issue”, certainly one of its lead authors has claimed.
The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities launched its conclusions again in 2021 after reviewing racial disparities in Britain following the rise of the Black Lives Matters motion.
But the report got here in for criticism for claiming the UK “no longer” had a system rigged in opposition to minorities, with campaigners saying it ignored the issues of individuals from black and ethnic minorities.
It took a yr for the federal government to publish its official response, however promised in March 2022 to “translate the findings from the commission’s report into concrete action”.
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In an interview with The House journal, the chair of the fee, Lord Sewell, continued to defend its findings, asking if its fiercest critics had learn it in full.
However, he claimed Mr Johnson struggled with responding to the report on the time, telling him: “The race thing’s difficult for me.”
The former PM has come beneath hearth for a few of his earlier remarks, together with evaluating ladies carrying burkhas to “letterboxes” and referring to black individuals as “piccaninnies” with “watermelon smiles”.
“He can’t… deliver a nuanced argument about race given his track record,” Lord Sewell instructed the journal.
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A spokesman for Mr Johnson mentioned there had been a “misunderstanding”, and that he had an “excellent track record”, having commissioned the report himself.
“There was a suggestion that as PM, Mr Johnson should present the report himself,” the spokesman added. “He properly declined to do so as the report was independent of government.”
In the interview, Lord Sewell additionally revealed he needed Labour’s shadow international secretary, David Lammy, to hitch the fee to stop accusations of bias, however claimed it was blocked by social gathering chief Sir Keir Starmer.
“What happened is that [Mr Lammy] wanted to do it,” mentioned the peer. “He then went and spoke to Starmer. And then he said, ‘oh well because of the politics I can’t come on’.”
A Labour supply known as the declare “utter nonsense” and mentioned Mr Lammy by no means meant to hitch the fee.
Lord Sewell additionally claimed the then-minister for equalities, Kemi Badenoch, “wasn’t that comfortable” with suggestions within the report that low-level Class B drug possession offences must be solved via public well being options.
But he mentioned she later accepted “she had to take an independent report and run with it”.