Britain’s Labour Party said Wednesday (24) it had reversed a decision to lower ticket prices for ethnic minorities attending a speech by leader Jeremy Corbyn after it was deemed to be potentially unlawful.
Corbyn is due to speak at the East Midlands Regional Conference in Loughborough on February 17, and the party had set the price at £40, but with a £10 discount for BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) attendees.
Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen made a complaint to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Britain’s national equality body, accusing the main opposition party of discrimination.
The commission responded by pointing out that “charging people different rates because of their race is unlawful discrimination unless it can be shown that this is a proportionate way of addressing low levels of participation.”
Labour insisted that the party was trying to increase participation from within minority communities, but removed the discount.
“The Labour Party is taking advice on other ways we can increase the representation of BAME members at the East Midlands Regional Conference in February,” said a party spokesperson.
“The intention behind the BAME pass was to increase the representation of under-represented groups which remains a priority for the party.”
Bridgen had earlier called the pricing structure “divisive and… illegal”, warning it “sets a dangerous a precedent which could easily be exploited at the extremes of our politics.”
“I’m calling on Labour to refund the £10 racial surcharge,” he added.