Black MPs call for action as Forde says Labour progress on findings “slow”

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Several Black Labour MPs have reportedly signed a letter demanding “urgent action” from the leadership on anti-Black racism and the implementation of the recommendations set out in the Forde report. Channel 4 News reported on Thursday that it had seen a letter drafted by the MPs, which states: “Despite our party’s claims to be anti-racist… we, our members and supporters are losing faith in the ability and commitment of this leadership to tackle the issues raised in the Forde report.” Several MPs spoke to the broadcaster – anonymously over fears of losing the whip, Channel 4 said – with one claiming that Labour’s approach to anti-Black racism is “lacklustre”, while another argued that progress by the party was “performative at best”.

Channel 4 also spoke to Martin Forde – the barrister who led an inquiry into allegations of bullying, racism and sexism within Labour that concluded in a report last year that there are “serious problems of discrimination in the operations of the party”. Forde said progress on implementing his findings has been “slow”, adding that he is “keeping a kind of wary eye on what is and isn’t done”. In a statement to Channel 4, the Labour Party said it is “fully committed to tackling racist and discriminatory attitudes wherever they arise in whatever section of the party”, adding: “We have implemented the bulk of the recommendations within the report, including a number that were implemented before the report was published, and the delivery of further recommendations is underway.”

In other Labour news, North of Tyne mayor Jamie Driscoll will today launch his campaign to be the Labour candidate for North East mayor, a role to be created following the agreement of a new devolution deal for the region. In a speech in Sunderland, Driscoll will pledge to end unemployment “by creating thousands of green jobs and building a total transport network for the North East”. Competing with Driscoll for the Labour nomination is police and crime commissioner for Northumbria Kim McGuinness, who announced her candidacy in January and is expected to launch her own campaign in the coming days, according to local press. Sign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.

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