Labour’s Race Consultant, Baroness Lawrence, Criticizes Keir Starmer for Ignoring Her Insights

Keir Starmer, the leader of the Labour party, is facing allegations of turning a deaf ear to the party’s race relations advisor.

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Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon, mother to the tragically slain Stephen Lawrence, is said to have expressed her frustrations during a private gathering of Labour’s ethnic minority MPs and peers on a Tuesday. She reportedly lamented, “I just wish Keir would listen to what I’m sayin’.”

Baroness Lawrence is believed to have voiced her concerns about “gatekeepers” within Sir Keir’s inner circle who are blocking her efforts, as The Times has highlighted. She’s at a loss on how to tackle grievances from black and minority ethnic supporters about the party.

At the confidential meeting with the parliamentary Labour Party’s black, Asian, and minority ethnic branch, her comments signal growing unrest over how Black and Asian members and their constituents are treated. This includes a protracted probe into Diane Abbott, who holds the distinction as Britain’s first black female MP.

It’s also suggested that Baroness Lawrence believes Sir Keir should be spending more time in diverse communities and attending churches with predominantly black congregations.

She’s questioned the party’s choice to downsize a conference where Sir Keir was anticipated to reveal new race equality legislation plans last month.

The Independent reported that the event was downscaled at the last minute due to security worries—believed to be linked to a pro-Palestine demonstration—and because several key MPs decided to skip the event.

In a behind-closed-doors discussion, Baroness Doreen Lawrence reportedly took Sir Keir Starmer to task.

Appointed as the Labour’s race relations adviser in 2020, Baroness Lawrence had commended Sir Keir for his contribution to achieving justice for her family following the widely publicized, racially motivated murder of her son Stephen in South London during the ’90s.

One of her initial roles was to examine how the Covid pandemic was impacting ethnic minority communities.

Since Sir Keir took over as Labour leader, both he and Baroness Lawrence have made a number of joint public appearances, including the unveiling of a report on Labour’s proposed race equality act. The party claims this act will, for the first time, grant full equal pay rights to black, Asian, ethnic minority, and disabled workers.

During PMQs, Diane Abbott was denied the chance to speak despite multiple attempts to stand and be recognized (Ian West/PA).

Baroness Lawrence reassured the Times of her belief in Sir Keir’s dedication to anti-racism efforts, stating, “I’m always gonna push the party to do more ’cause the fight for equality is never over, but I’ve known Keir for years, and I’ve got no doubts ’bout his commitment to equality and fightin’ racism. That’s why I’ve been proud to work alongside Labour on their new race equality act plans.”

Several sources from within Labour have previously informed The Independent that the party must address its own racial discrimination issues, as exposed by the scathing Forde report. This investigation revealed a “hierarchy of racism” within Labour, with many feeling that the predominantly white party was not welcoming for people of color.

Sir Keir has apologized for the findings, but Mr. Forde has since criticized how slowly Labour has acted on his suggestions to improve handling of sexism, racism, bullying, and factionalism.

By December, only 154 out of the 165 recommendations had been put into practice.

Ms. Abbott had her whip suspended last April after mistakenly submitting a draft letter to The Observer that implied Jewish individuals do not experience racism to the same degree as other minorities.

She promptly apologized, yet the Labour leadership has not reinstated her whip.

The Independent understands that Ms. Abbott was offered her Labour whip back on the condition of completing antisemitism training, which she declined,

This follows Sir Keir’s condemnation of alleged comments by Tory donor Frank Hester, who reportedly said Ms. Abbott made him “want to hate all black people”.

The situation has spurred calls from both inside and outside the party for the restoration of Ms. Abbott’s whip, which Sir Keir has resisted so far.

Baroness Lawrence and the Labour party have been contacted for a response.

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