Labour reaffirms pledge to tackle racism on anniversary of George Floyd’s murder

Elliot Chappell
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“We must ensure that change happens. And that is what the Labour Party is committed to.” One year on from the murder of George Floyd, Keir Starmer, Marsha de Cordova and David Lammy reaffirmed their commitment to tacking racism in the UK. “George Floyd looked like me, he could have been me,” Lammy said in a video released this morning. “That’s why his death reverberated around the world.” Eradicating racism will be a “defining cause” for the next Labour government, Starmer pledged, reaffirming the plan to introduce a new Race Equality Act. De Cordova is holding the first in a series of public forums today to inform the party’s work on the legislation, to ensure it is “shaped by lived experience”. Viewers were also told that the party would implement the remaining recommendations of the Lammy review, published in 2017, to “make the justice system fair for everyone, regardless of race, religion or background”.

Anneliese Dodds warned MPs last night that the Labour policy review she is chairing “cannot be a talking shop”. “We need to use this review to build a plan for the future that shows the transformation Labour would deliver in government,” the recently-appointed party chair told the Parliamentary Labour Party. She described the review as an opportunity to set out the values that drive Labour – equality, security, aspiration and ambition – and explained that she plans to visit parts of the country to highlight the work the party is already doing where it is in power. Reports emerged last night of a possible timeline for the review with an early report to be produced ahead of the annual party conference in September, followed by an interim report in spring or summer next year with the results to feed into the manifesto process ready for a general election in 2023.

Neil Coyle has written to the parliamentary standards commissioner claiming that Jeremy Corbyn may not have declared support received to cover legal costs in the wake of allegations of antisemitism within the party. Supporters set up a crowdfunding campaign to meet the legal costs of the former Labour leader last year, which has been declared on his register of interests. But Coyle has asked the parliamentary body to investigate whether he broke the MPs’ code of conduct by not declaring other financial and “in-kind” support. Corbyn has said that he will be liaising with the commissioner in response to the correspondence.

Ministers have been accused of “incompetence” after changing Covid guidance with no official announcement. The government published a list of eight areas most affected by the ‘Indian variant’ on Friday, advising against all but essential travel, giving no warning to local councils or MPs. Labour MP Yasmin Qureshi, whose constituency in Bolton is included in the list, said she was “gobsmacked” by the revelation, adding: “They’re making such an important announcement and they don’t even have the decency to tell us or tell our constituents.” Starmer described the lack of warning or announcement as “utterly shameful” this morning.

Matt Hancock is separately facing an urgent question tabled by Jonathan Ashworth in parliament this afternoon, where we can expect some tricky questions for the Health Secretary. Stay tuned for updates. Also on LabourList today, Cat Smith MP has written about Labour’s proposed new clause to the environment bill, which is due back in parliament on Wednesday, to revoke existing fracking licences and prevent the issue of any new ones. “With every licence application comes huge environmental concern, local opposition and widespread protest,” she wrote. “It is time, once and for all, to tell the fracking companies their time is up.” Sign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.

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