Labour to fight for diverse and united Britain, vows Jeremy Corbyn


Jeremy Corbyn has vowed that Labour will fight for a "diverse and united Britain", as he launched a new consultation on tackling discrimination and promoting racial equality.

The Labour leader said it will also look at measures to tackle the "systematic disadvantage" faced by minorities.

The move comes after Theresa May launched an audit of public services to root out racial disparities as part of a drive to tackle inequality.

The consultation will be in partnership with Labour's race equality advisory group, chaired by Patrick Vernon, and will involve a series of special events across the country and online.

Mr Corbyn said: "In Britain, hate crime is rising. More than half of all young black people are unemployed. Black people are a shocking 37 times more likely to be stop and searched.

"Labour must be a party that fights for black, Asian and ethnic minority communities - and a diverse and united Britain.

"Words matter. We must never pander to elements of the right-wing press which sow division in our society and demonise Muslim communities. We must stand against anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and all forms of racism, wherever they exist.

"But it also means going further - and addressing the systematic disadvantage that so many people face.

"To build a society that works for everyone, we will end austerity and invest £500 billion in jobs, infrastructure and public services as part of our plan to rebuild and transform Britain."

Mr Corbyn has come under fire over his approach to allegations of anti-Semitism within the party and faced suggestions by a frontbencher that he could have faced a race discrimination case over his treatment of her.

Chi Onwurah expressed concern at the way she and fellow Labour MP Thangam Debbonaire have been treated by Mr Corbyn and suggested "if this had been any of my previous employers in the public and private sectors, Jeremy might well have found himself before an industrial tribunal for constructive dismissal, probably with racial discrimination thrown in - given that only 5% of MPs are black and female, picking on us two is statistically interesting to say the least".

Mr Corbyn's office insisted it was "clearly not the case" that Ms Onwurah had been singled out.

Shadow women and equalities minister Angela Rayner said the new consultation would help address the structural issues which affect black, Asian and minority ethnic (Bame) communities.

"Labour has a proud history of tackling race equality, but recent events and the rise in extremism across Europe has shown that despite the progress which has been made, more work needs to be done," she said.

"This consultation will take the first steps in developing policies which can tackle the structural issues which affect Britain's Bame communities and the new challenges we all face in building a fairer, more equal society."

Labour's announcement comes after the Prime Minister ordered Whitehall departments to identify and publish information showing how outcomes vary for people of different backgrounds in a range of areas including health, education and employment.

The audit aims to give every person the ability to check how their race affects the way they are treated by public services, with data gathered under the exercise being used to help force poor-performing areas to improve.