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Labour excluded some campaigners from race equality act launch event | Politics News


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Labour’s plans for a new race equality act were announced at a behind closed doors event that excluded equality campaigners who wanted to review the proposals, Sky News can reveal.

The party is pledging to be a government that would give stronger legal protections for equal pay for black, Asian, and minority ethnic workers.

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But ahead of today’s launch, stakeholders were emailed at 11pm last night to say the event was “postponed” after protests were due to take place at a venue they had originally chosen in north London.

An email sent to attendees ahead of Labour's launch event
An email sent to attendees ahead of Labour’s launch event

Sky News understands there was a separate event for a smaller group – some on the taskforce didn’t know until the event had already started whether they were meant to be invited or not.

Those who attended this private event said Sir Keir Starmer set out the plan with Baroness Doreen Lawrence, though mentioned they were “quite agitated” by what they saw.

They thought the Labour leader came across as “quite cold and horrible”, and one described the atmosphere as “jingoistic” with “Union Jacks everywhere.”

Some were also disappointed David Lammy, Labour’s most senior black MP in the shadow cabinet, did not attend.

Shadow equalities minister Annalise Dodds told Sky News she genuinely believes the act will make a huge difference and “throughout this process we’ve engaged with dozens of experts, with businesses, with trade unions, with people with lived experiences and what we’ve found is generally people are very supportive of the changes we’re setting out”.

She also confirmed Sir Keir and herself have undergone unconscious bias training – and it was “useful to understand how sometimes different patterns of behaviour can become entrenched”.

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Baroness Doreen Lawrence
Baroness Doreen Lawrence joined Sir Keir in setting out the plan

Plans will ‘deliver limited impact’

Labour announced its radical plans as draft proposals and said the race equality act will be in its manifesto to provide better protections for those who face “dual discrimination”, as well as mandatory ethnic minority pay reporting, tackling health disparities, and the introduction of a new Windrush commissioner.

But campaigners and some involved in drafting the plans are concerned immigration is not substantially mentioned.

Race equality thinktank the Runnymede Trust said: “The plans announced today do not touch the sides of the scale of the crises facing people of colour.

“What is urgently needed are real solutions that take action to tackle racial inequality at its root.”

Timi Okuwa, chief executive of the Black Equity Organisation (where Mr Lammy is a trustee), said: “Labour’s attempt to address the inequalities that black people face daily will deliver limited impact.

“Although proposals like the Windrush commissioner, equal ethnicity pay protections and pay gap reporting are welcome, we need a more fundamental approach to dismantle the systemic nature of racism that continues to hold black people back.”

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Written by: radioroxi

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