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Another race headache for Boris

Cindy Butts led the race and faith inquiry, set up by Boris Johnson

News that the respected anti-racist campaigner Bob Purkiss has walked out of Mayor Boris Johnson’s race and faith inquiry will come as no surprise to some.

The final straw for Purkiss was the decision of the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) – chaired by the London mayor himself – to write the final report of the Race and Faith inquiry.

The failure of the inquiry team, chaired by MPA member Cindy Butts (pictured above), to produce a comprehensive report has been an ongoing source of frustration, especially to London’s Black Police Association, who were hoping the inquiry would push Scotland Yard further to combat racism in its ranks.

The Race and Faith inquiry was set up by the Mayor over 16 months ago, but has so far only produced an eight-page interim document, despite a rumoured £80,000 being spent on a two-person team to write the report.

We have heard suggestions that the inquiry team asked for an additional £100,000 to produce a final report.

Amid concerns that the report would not come out until after the local and general elections, interested observers personally wrote to Johnson urging him to sort this situation out.

However the course of action taken by the Mayor – for the MPA to personally take the reins by writing the report – has clearly angered Purkiss, who believes that the police authority would tone down any recommendations on race likely to cause embarrassment.

This is just the latest race-related issue to involve the Mayor. Last week, Johnson decided to axe City Hall funding for Black History Month and Africa Day, while simultaneously boosting grants for America Day and St George’s Day.

The loss of Purkiss– a trade union stalwart and former board member on the old Commission for Racial Equality – from the race and faith inquiry is a serious loss. And if he believes that the Mayor will water down, that casts an even darker cloud over the credibility of the whole inquiry process.

By Lester Holloway

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2 Responses

  1. ‘The loss of a.. trade union stalwart … is a serious loss.’ Really? To confrim, you lovely folk are non-partisan, aren’t you?

  2. Imran, sorry maybe my terminologies gave the wrong impression of Bob Purkiss. He is really very respected, believe me! He ran the EU Racism and Xenophobia Unit for a while, and has served on a range of taskforces. But above all, he’s always struck me as a very down to earth, highly able, thinking individual. Not a stereotypical trade union stalwort!

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