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Starmer weighs in on Brum Labour Racism Report
The Labour Leader was asked for his views on a visit to Birmingham
As reported by the Birmingham Mail, the Birmingham Labour Council Group have recently become embroiled in a racism row following the findings of an internal report organised by Cllr Saima Suleman. Suleman, the Labour Group’s BAME Officer at the time, carried out an anonymous survey of Black and Ethnic Minority Labour Councillors which revealed a ‘toxic culture’ in the Group and alleged that it ensures that ‘Councillors of colour were left in their place, at the bottom’ according to respondents.
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Outside of the Group itself, the report also alleged that the Council under Labour’s administration was failing to improve the quality of life of residents in parts of the city were ethnic minority residents are in the majority. This related to inequalities in health, education and employment, with a deliberate lack of funding for those areas as the cause.
The Labour Group Leader and Leader of Birmingham City Council, Ian Ward has instigated an independent investigation into the allegations of racim, as Rhi Storer has reported, but Cllr Suleman is not convinced. She resigned her position as BAME Officer in protest at the new investigation’s terms of reference, which she says were ‘not detailed enough’.
On a visit to Birmingham late last week, Sir Keir Starmer waded in on the issue. According to Birmingham Live, he said: "I'm concerned and the Labour leader is concerned. That's why it's very important to me that the Labour Party is putting a response in to this to make sure that we can get to the bottom of it and deal with the issues."
Concerns have been raised over the Labour administration’s ability to get on with the job of running the city and supporting its residents when the Council Group are in turmoil.
Counter Cut spoke to Cllr Robert Alden (Con, Erdington), Leader of the Opposition on Birmingham City Council. He told us, “at a time when businesses and residents are struggling with cost pressures this winter, Birmingham Labour have collapsed into internal fights over a reported 'toxic culture' in their group. All of Birmingham's communities deserve better from this Labour Council who need to focus on helping residents and delivering good quality services”.
With such clear division in the Group and the former BAME Officer already condemning the independent investigation as insufficient, the months ahead remain unstable for Leader Ian Ward who clung on to his position by just one vote in this summer’s bid to oust him.
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