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.
Other black Labour MPs to respond to Starmer’s comments included Bell Ribeiro-Addy, who wrote ‘#BlackLivesMatter isn’t just a moment, it’s a movement’.
Dawn Butler, MP for Brent Central, also tweeted ‘More than just a # More than just a moment’.
Sir Keir was asked to clarify his comments in an interview with The Voice, saying: “What I meant by a moment, was a defining moment, or a turning point.
“And if I have heard anything in the last few weeks and months that has been loud and clear, it is that the Black Lives Matter movement and the emotional coming together that has happened in the last few weeks and months has to be a turning point.”
He also committed to taking unconscious bias training during an interview with LBC and revealed that the Labour party are introducing the training for all members of staff.
A high profile eurosceptic, Farage was a founding member of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and later the Brexit Party which campaigned for the UK to leave the European Union (EU).
He is viewed as a central figure behind the leave campaign and controversially appeared before an anti-migrant poster during the days before the EU Referendum in 2016.
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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