‘Structural racism’ risks pushing black voters away from Labour, MP warns

By Declan Carey

“STRUCTURAL racism” threatens to push black voters away from the Labour party according to MP Clive Lewis – voters they “can’t afford to lose.”

The MP for Norwich South responded on Twitter to an article criticising leader Keir Starmer for his comments on the Black Lives Matter (BLM) organisation.

He said: “The clock’s ticking @UKLabour. Start stepping up to the challenge of structural racism or watch as yet more voters step away. Voters we can’t afford to lose.”

The Labour leader, formerly Director of Public Prosecutions, came under fire after a BBC Breakfast interview where he dismissed the idea of defunding the police and referred to BLM as a ‘moment’ rather than a movement.

Clive Lewis was elected to Parliament in 2015 after winning his seat from Liberal Democrat candidate Simon Wright, with a majority of 7,654 votes.

Muir’s article reads: “In case you missed it, it took Keir Starmer just a matter of seconds this week to reduce the Black Lives Matter movement to a ‘moment’ – a tone-deaf term that dismissed the validity, necessity and longevity of the Black British collective struggle, during his interview on BBC Breakfast. 

“As a lifelong Labour supporter and Black working class woman raised in the late 90s/early 00s ex-industrial town of Doncaster, it was the last straw for me.”

Defunding the police is a key idea for BLM campaigners who argue the funds would do more good if invested in education and healthcare services.

The Labour Party was contacted for comment.

According to Government figures, the police are more likely to stop and search black people than white people, with four stop and searches for every 1,000 White people, compared with 38 for every 1,000 Black people between April 2018 and March 2019.

However, the Home Office has defended the policy of stop and search.

A spokesperson said: “Stop and search results in deadly weapons like knives being taken off the streets and police officers have the Government’s full support in the fair and intelligence-led use of the tactic.

“We are absolutely clear that no one should be targeted because of their race, and there are safeguards in place to ensure stop and search is used lawfully and not based on race or ethnicity, including statutory codes of practice and body worn video.

“Over three-quarters of stop and searches take place in London, where data shows that young black men are disproportionately the victims of knife crime. Stop and search is a vital tool in reducing this crime type and protecting these individuals.”

Featured Image: Rwendland @WikimediaCommons

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