BLM organiser calls for removal of Munira Mirza as head of race inequality commission

20 June 2020, 16:44

Across the UK on Saturday, hundreds of people have attended anti-racist protests
Across the UK on Saturday, hundreds of people have attended anti-racist protests. Picture: LBC News

By Matt Drake

Black Lives Matter organiser Imarn Ayton is calling for the removal of Munira Mirza as head of Boris Johnson's new race inequality commission.

Ms Mirza is the head of the new government commission on racial inequalities, set up by the Head of the Number 10 Policy Unit.

She is coming under fire from "progressive anti-racists" because in the past she criticised Labour MP David Lammy's report on the justice system and rejects the idea of structural racism.

Across the UK on Saturday, hundreds of people have attended anti-racist protests, including a Black Lives Matter (BLM) march in London where Ms Ayton addressed protesters.

Trying to rally the crowd, Ms Ayton said: "Boris Johnson has responded to our cry, Boris Johnson has heard our cry and he has responded with a new race inequality commission.

"We appreciate a response, we like a response but we know that a grave mistake has been made, a catastrophic mistake has been made.

"Boris Johnson has appointed a lady called Munira Mirza to head up our race inequality commission.

"We appreciate a response, we like a response but we know that a grave mistake has been made, a catastrophic mistake has been made.

"Boris Johnson has appointed a lady called Munira Mirza to head up our race inequality commission.

"This is a woman who does not believe in institutional racism - she has argued it is more of a perception than a reality."

Imarn Ayton continued: "Munira Mirza does not believe in what we believe in, she's not in line with what we believe in.

"So let me tell you right now, so here to make sure that everyone knows this today."

Imarn Ayton called for the removal of Munira Mirza as head of the new race inequality commission
Imarn Ayton called for the removal of Munira Mirza as head of the new race inequality commission. Picture: LBC News

She led the crowd in chanting "Munira Mirza must go" and "institutional racism is a reality not a perception".

Ms Ayton also called for the implementation of the recommendations made by Shadow Secretary David Lammy David Lammy's review into outcomes for black and minority ethnic people in the criminal justice system.

The revelation of Ms Mirza's role was met with dismay from MPs. Mr Lammy, whose own review on inequalities in the judicial system was criticised by Ms Mirza, tweeted: "My review was welcomed by all parties: Corbyn, Cameron and May. But Munira Mirza went out of her way to attack it.

"Johnson isn’t listening to #BlackLivesMatter. He’s trying to wage a culture war.”

Ms Mirza condemned an audit of racial inequalities in public services commissioned by Theresa May, which Number 10 said will be part of the basis for the new report.

Writing for The Spectator in 2017, Ms Mirza said the audit showed how "anti-racism is becoming weaponised across the political spectrum”.

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