A vice-chairman of the Conservative party has attacked the government’s record on race equality.
Sayeeda Warsi was appointed Shadow Minister for Community Cohesion by David Cameron earlier this year, the first Muslim woman to sit in the Tory Shadow Cabinet.
The final report from the Commission for Racial Equality was released yesterday. The CRE is being merged into the new Commission for Equality and Human Rights.
The CRE accused Government departments for failing to carry out their duties under race equality legislation.
Ms Warsi commented:
“This report from the CRE demonstrates the government’s failure to implement recommendations to overcome racial prejudice in its own backyard.
“For the government to prove any credibility on equality it must get its own house in order. The Conservatives are committed to working closely with the new CEHR to create greater equality.
“It is a sad indictment of this Labour Government that after 10 years of talk about equality we live in a more divided society than before.”
Ms Warsi was controversial appointment to speak on equality matters.
As an unsuccessful parliamentary candidate in the 2005 election she issued leaflets that were hostile towards gay rights.
“Labour has scrapped section 28 which was introduced by the Conservatives to stop schools promoting alternative sexual lifestyles such as homosexuality to children as young as seven years old,” her leaflets read.
“Schools are allowed and do promote homosexuality and other alternative sexual lifestyles to your children.
“Labour reduced the age of consent for homosexuality from 18 to 16 allowing school children to be propositioned for homosexual relationships.”
In July the Tory party defended her appointment to the equality brief:
“The leaflet that you are referring to does not properly represent her views – she has not got a problem with gay adoption, for example.
“Sayeeda does have a problem with sex education, of any orientation, being compulsory in schools.
“She thinks it is up to the parents to decide if and what their children are taught and when.”
The CEHR will be responsible for enforcing the Equality Act which guarantees freedom from discrimination in the provision of goods and services regardless of sexual orientation.
It will inherit the responsibilities of the existing equality commissions, the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE), the Disability Rights Commission and the Equal Opportunities Commission.
The body will also have responsibilities on rights in relation to age, sexual orientation, religion and belief, and will ensure that Unions and organisations such as the Citizen Advice Bureau have the correct training and information to advise people on these rights.