Written by Leah Mahon
Published on the 12th February 2021
THE DELAY in publishing the Forde inquiry has led nine black Labour MPs question whether the party takes racism seriously enough.
In a statement today, MPs said they were “disappointed and seriously concerned” by the sustained delay to the inquiry because of worries that it could prejudice an investigation by the information commissioner.
There are still questions about why Forde did not highlight this risk earlier.
Last May, Martin Ford QC was appointed by Keir Starmer to carry out an investigation into the leak of an uncensored report into Labour’s complaints procedures.
The report detailed alleged conversations among party officials about black MPs that were labelled as racist.
Speaking on the delayed report, MPs said: “The possibility of a racist culture and a hostile environment for black members within the party needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency and the Forde inquiry is an important tool for doing just that.”
Marsha de Cordova, the shadow women and equalities secretary, Chi Onwurah, the shadow science minister, and Diane Abbott, Dawn Butler, Florence Eshalomi, Kim Johnson, Clive Lewis, Kate Osamor and Bell Ribeiro-Addy, have all signed the statement.
One of the signatories said: “People are increasingly fed up with the leadership line on race generally, and their crude attempts to kick the Forde inquiry into the long grass in particular.”
Previously, MPs have expressed concern that Starmer is taking the support of black and minority voters for granted.
The statement went on to read: “Delaying the Forde inquiry and failing to provide a future date by which its findings will be published risks further doubling down on the impression that the party does not take issues of anti-black racism seriously.
“The abuse contained within the [leaked] report and the issues it seeks to address are incredibly serious and must be part of our attempts to ensure the Labour party is an inclusive and tolerant place.
“The fact that members who contributed to anti-black racism have been readmitted to the party is a cause of concern and this delay only adds to the anxiety.”