Prime minister’s questions


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Paul Grover /Pool via REUTERS).
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Paul Grover /Pool via REUTERS).

By Amit Roy

DR TONY SEWELL, chair­man of the commissioners , says in his foreword to the race report: “Last summer, the prime minister asked if I would be willing to chair a commission to investigate race and ethnic disparities in the UK…I readily agreed: I have spent all my working life as an educationalist, dedicated to this cause.

“The Commission was es­tablished with 10 of us drawn from a variety of fields span­ning science, education, economics, broadcasting, medicine, and policing.

“All the while we have been supported by the Cabinet Office’s Race and Disparity Unit … set up in 2016. It has accumulated all the impor­tant data on race and ethnic­ity, in one database.”

Boris Johnson set up the commission after the Black Lives Matter protests spilled over from the US to the UK last summer. The word is the commission’s composition was influenced by Munira Mirza, head of the policy unit at 10, Downing Street. It is said neither she nor Sewell believes Britain is in­stitutionally racist.

So what does Boris think of the report?

I am assuming he has skimmed through the 264-page report, with its 24 recommendations.

He called it a “very interesting piece of work” but added: “I don’t say the government is going to agree with abso­lutely everything in it.”

We don’t know the bits he disagrees with, but he said that “it has some original and stimulating work in it that I think people need to read and to consider.

“There are very serious is­sues that our society faces to do with racism that we need to address. We’ve got to do more to fix it, we need to un­derstand the severity of the problem. We’re going to be looking at all the ideas they have put forward, and we’ll be making our response.”

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