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Trevor Phillips appointment as CEHR chairman condemned

Staff reporter

NEW LABOUR'S Trevor Phillips has been appointed chairman of the Commission for Equality and Human Rights, to the dismay of anti-racism campaigners.

Trevor Phillips
Trevor Phillips: Described the CEHR as a 'train-wreck waiting to happen.' Now he's the driver.

Communities Secretary has already handed the job of CEHR chairman to 'New Labour Trevor' to push the governments' cohesion and integration agenda.

A well-placed source said Phillips had undergone an induction and that an official annoucement was expected soon.

Campaigners are furious that the government has chosen a Labour lapdog with no grassroots support to head the £70m super-equalities body.

Phillips shares Kelly's anti-multicultural views, with both sharing the belief that ethnic minorities need to feel more British, speak better English and learn more UK history.

Karen Chouhan, a trustee of The 1990 Trust, said: 'It is incredible that the new chair of the CEHR is the very person who has said the CEHR was a train-wreck waiting to happen.

'He has blown hot and cold over the new body and believes that it doesn't matter if Black people are represented by Eskimos.


'What will he do with the new super body when his track record at the CRE shows he has run this body into the ground with only one case receiving full legal representation in 2004.

 - quote - Trevor and his rhetoric is shoring up BNP support  - unquote -
Operation Black Vote

'He has used the CRE as a platform to bash multiculturalism, alienated Black communities and done very little to enforce the race relations laws.'

A spokesperson for Operation Black Vote said: 'We have been saying from the consultation stage through to the appointments process for the CEHR that Trevor would be nothing short of a disaster.

'While others were marching shoulder to shoulder for race equality Trevor was writing commentary for the Daily Mail. While all anti-racist efforts are focused towards defeating the racists in Barking and elsewhere, Trevor and his rhetoric are shoring up BNP support.


'When at every chosen moment black people have needed a voice in Government Trevor has been conspicuous by his silence. His tenure at the CRE took race relations back to the Bronze Age; he is now being given an opportunity to take it further back to the Stone Age. Black communities will be watching and waiting with growing despair.'

Shami Chakrabarti
Shami Chakrabarti: independent, strong on equalities, widely respected across different equalities strands. Rejected as CEHR chair.

Phillips, a former Labour chairman of the London Assembly, is a close friend of former Home Secretary Charles Clarke and several other New Labour figures.

He co-authored a Fabian Society pamphlet in 2004 with former Health Secretary John Reid, which failed to recognise institutional racism or raise concerns about the full extent of discrimination in the NHS, such as mental health.

More recently Phillips has rejected calls by his CRE predecessor Lord Herman Ouseley to conduct an investigation into racism within Southwark Council's planning department.

Matters look set to come to a 'make or break' CEHR planning meeting later this month when campaigners will demand that government establish a statutory race committee to match the disabilities committee ministers have already agreed.

Anti-racism activists say an unsatisfactory outcome could lead to a boycott of the new single equalities body, which comes into force next autumn.

Phillips opposed the idea of a race committee when the CEHR, but as MPs lead demands for Black representation, the CRE chair changed tack and said he did support a race committee. But he ratted on his promise to lobby government and never said a word on the topic to the minister responsible, Meg Munn.

Anti-racist organisations there is a climate of hostility against Black communities fuelled by the endless discussions on multiculturalism and integration.

The whole debate is coupled with anti terrorism and anti ‘Islamic ‘terrorism. Rather than waste wasted on commissions what is needed is firm action to enforce of race relations laws.

Yesterday London Mayor Ken Livingstone blasted Phillips' right wing agenda and said he expected the CRE chairman would be “joining the BNP soon.”

Speaking on a London radio show last week, Livingstone launched a blistering broadside against Phillips.

‘I don't know where Trevor is going. I remember during the first mayoral election, when I was running for mayor, he denounced me for being a racist because I asked him “Do you want to be my deputy?”

‘He donned a brief black power thing and ever since then he's gone so far over to the other side I suspect he'll soon be joining the BNP.’
Livingstone also accused Phillips of turning the CRE into a “vast press office” and slashing legal support to victims of race discrimination.

A CRE spokesperson shrugged off the attack claiming that their chairman’s views on multiculturalism were “well supported”, and the body had a “responsible and effective” approach to legal cases.

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