Covid-19: BAME Communities

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:31 pm on 18th June 2020.

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Photo of Anne McLaughlin Anne McLaughlin Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Women), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Equalities) 4:31 pm, 18th June 2020

A minute? I was told I had seven minutes. Right, I had better come on to: what am I going to do about it?

First, I have applied to have my constituency office registered and trained as a third-party hate crime reporting centre. I will very briefly say that the first of my colleagues to come back to me and say, “I want to do that too,” was Amy Callaghan. I think all Members will join me in wishing her well as she recovers from what happened last week.

Secondly, I have set up the all-party parliamentary group on unconscious bias. Our inaugural meeting will be on 29 June. Members will decide what happens, but my intention is to have a number of distinct investigations. They could be into a number of things, but the first must be into race. I want the group to take evidence from people not necessarily about overt racism but about undercover racism, where even the person doing it does not know that they are doing it.

It is not just about hearing evidence. I want to make recommendations on what we can do to enable people to recognise their own thinking and to undo it—who should be doing that, and how they should be doing it. I want a UK-wide campaign of awareness, but I should not get carried away and pre-empt the findings. I thank the hon. Member for Brent Central for agreeing to be part of that APPG.

The third thing that I will do is keep listening, and listening more to people who experience racism, which, as I said, is not me. I will end on three very brief messages for the Minister and the Government. The first is that Black Lives Matter is not just about saving those lives, but the lives that people are leading when they are here. Secondly, please stop using the Lammy review as a cover. I am sick of hearing the Government answer every question about what they are doing with: “We’ve got the Lammy review.” They should act upon it, and speak about it only when they have actually done something about it. Finally, we can breathe and until we cannot we should fight racism and call it out wherever we see it, and whoever it is from—and that includes Prime Ministers.