Starmer announced ‘diversity audit’ on anniversary of election of black MPs, but party’s most senior BAME employee has been ‘sidelined’, according to Labour sources – and diversity panel so far includes only white LOTO staff
On the 33rd anniversary of the election of Britain’s first black MPs, including former Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, Labour leader Keir Starmer has announced his intention to tackle anti-Black racism – including a ‘diversity audit’ of the party’s representation of black, Asian and ethnic minority staff, with an ‘action plan’ and targets to follow the audit.
The party’s official Twitter account has also put out tweets about Ms Abbott and about other black MPs to mark the anniversary, while Starmer’s Twitter feed featured a video statement about the ‘great debt’ the party owes to Abbott and ‘rife’ racism and inequality in society and his desire for black members to “be able to put their trust in me”.
Now more than ever it’s incumbent on political leaders to face up to and address the injustices that exist in our society. Now is the time for action…
…It’s not right that Diane Abbott faces vile racist abuse daily… We will tackle any anti-Black racism within our party.Keir Starmer’s statement on Diane Abbott’s anniversary as an MP today
But Labour sources have told the SKWAWKBOX that Starmer’s diversity panel so far includes no black people – nor even the party’s most senior BAME employee – and is set to consist of LOTO (leader of the opposition’s office) staff who are all from white backgrounds.
Further, the BAME party director has, according to various sources in the party, been ‘sidelined’ and many of his duties have been re-allocated to a more junior – and white – staff member; one whose name appears in the leaked internal report accusing senior staff of serious misconduct.
That report accuses other senior then-staff of behaviour including racism (against Diane Abbott among others), obstruction of investigations into racism complaints and undermining election campaigns – but so far, not one current or former staffer appears to have been suspended, while the party has spent a six-figure sum investigating staff who compiled the report and those it suspects might have leaked it.
LabourList’s announcement on Twitter of Starmer’s ‘strategy’ met with a barrage of angry comment from current and former members outraged at the lack of action on the report’s accusations, particularly when members even fallaciously accused of other misconduct have been rapidly and summarily suspended:
Keir Starmer has been contacted for comment.
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