Analysis comment

Former EHRC black and Muslim directors say they lost their jobs for being ‘too loud’ about racism

Another Newsweek exclusive puts EHRC’s fitness under spotlight after also revealing donations to Tory party. EHRC now has no black or Muslim directors

Peers and former EHRC directors Simon Woolley and Meral Hussein-Ece

Just a month after its revelations that an Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) director made donations to the Tory party that she failed to declare when she was appointed, Newsweek has broken another exclusive that the organisation’s only black and Muslim directors say their appointments were not renewed because they were “too loud and vocal” about race issues.

LibDem peer Meral Hussain-Ece and ‘crossbench’ peer Simon Woolley lost their government-appointed positions in 2012. Woolley told Newsweek:

We were too loud… Our job as commissioners was to do exactly what they were supposed to do, to raise the fundamental issues of tackling race inequality in education, in health, in employment, within the criminal justice system and I saw that as my central role, but it was made very quickly aware to me that that strong voice was not wanted.

They [the government] didn’t want the voices that challenge the big structural inequalities, which of course is the raison d’être of the commission, and then to work out plans to use its powers to demand change.

The commission should not be a space for a chit-chat, this is perhaps one of the only bodies that we have in our country to hold our big institutions to account when it comes to racial injustice.”

Hussein-Ece voiced a similar view:

We were the ones who spoke more about race. Race equality generally was put on the back burner…

We were told to apply for the next term because it’s a four-year term, our performance was deemed good, and that we should reapply. When we did reapply, we were told we weren’t even shortlisted.

The EHRC has persistently refused to investigate the Conservative party for racism and islamophobia, in spite of repeated requests by the Muslim Council of Britain and an abundance of evidence. The Tories have reduced the EHRC’s budget from its 2007 level of £70m to just £17.4m today.

Sir Geoffrey Bindman, former legal adviser to the EHRC’s predecessor the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE), also features in the Newsweek article as a voice criticising the organisation and the government’s handling of it. Bindman, who is Jewish, has recently joined the board of, an organisation that describes itself as:

a collective of activists, lawyers, creatives, journalists, academics and citizens concerned about the spread of disinformation online, in traditional media, and in political advertising and campaigning.

We are equally concerned by cases where civil litigation procedures and the principles of natural justice are apparently undermined for politically motivated purposes.

Truth Defence has already been vocal in highlighting problems in the media and political treatment of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and has welcomed Jane Heybroek’s stunning victory in court over accusers Rachel Riley and Tracy-Ann Oberman, so the presence of a leading human rights QC and former CRE counsel on its board is highly significant.

The EHRC currently has no black or Muslim directors. The government’s Equality Office did not respond to Newsweek‘s requests for comment.

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  1. I hope I live to see Rachel Riley bankrupted by her Court actions, too saggy from weight loss for TV and living on the streets unrecognised – a drunken bag lady screeching about the greatness of her stellar career and the conspiracy of evil antisemites that cheated her out of it – using her pink, glitter-sprinkled residential shopping trolley as a stage-cum-lectern in a Lidl car park.
    I can dream, can’t I? Nothing antisemitic or actionable about that. Yet.

    1. ps… is she still an asset to the company that makes Countdown after her unfortunate publicity I wonder?
      I’d have thought pseudo-political activity would make a person a potential liability in ‘Gameshow Land’.
      Maybe the Tories will save her by offering her a safe seat?

  2. She is no Carol Vorderman that’s for sure. Wonder if I might get sued for saying that?

  3. Truth Defence
    On so many levels it appears chickens are coming home to roost
    So no more of this we must run away and form a new party bollocks
    How about standing firm and fighting for the one we created

  4. Is the EHRC fit for purpose?
    It should at least be representative of the whole population(BAME,religious,cultural and ethnicity).
    It also lost its independence from political control- so hardly surprising that it does not bite the hand that feeds it.
    No appeal to European Court of Human Rights now because we have out sovereignty (what-ever that means) .

  5. Insurance companies working the way they do we can hope that Riley’s ‘defamation’ component of her insurance premium, even if paid by her employer, will increase by so much that she’s warned in no uncertain terms to shut the fuck up.

    Defamation insurance needs to be banned. You lie, YOU pay.

  6. Internal report and refusal to investigate cheap and nasties turns anything EHRC comes up with into a shit flavoured lolly

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