Muslims slam Trevor Phillips’ UK Labour reinstatement

UK Muslims slam Trevor Phillips’ reinstatement to the Labour Party following Islamophobia allegations
2 min read
07 July, 2021
The former UK equality watchdog chief was suspended from the Labour Party following allegations of Islamophobic statements.
Trevor Phillips was chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission between 2003 and 2012 [Getty]

Trevor Phillips’ reinstatement to the Labour party has been criticised by British Muslims, who say there was no apology or acknowledgement following his suspension for alleged Islamophobia. 

Phillips, the ex-chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), was readmitted to the Labour party at least three weeks ago according to The Guardianafter being temporarily banned in March last year. 

His suspension for allegations of Islamophobia followed remarks expressing concern about Pakistani Muslim men sexually abusing children in northern British towns and for comments about Muslims not wearing poppies for Remembrance Sunday. 

The Labour Muslim Network (LMN) said on Tuesday they were disappointed and frustrated by the decision to readmit Phillips to the Labour Party. 

In a statement, LMN said: "Trevor Phillips' case is one of the most high-profile recent examples of Islamophobia within the Labour Party and quietly readmitting him behind closed doors, without apology or acknowledgement, will only cause further anxiety and hurt amongst Muslims."

MEND Community, an NGO "that helps to empower and encourage British Muslims within local communities" according to their website, said they have written to Labour’s General Secretary, as well as party leader Keir Starmer "to express our grave concern". 

The organisation called the decision to readmit Phillips "premature" and said it "raises questions about the process for handling Islamophobia within the party". 

The case was not heard by the Party's National Executive Committee disciplinary panel before the suspension was lifted, according to The Guardian

However, a Labour source told the newspaper that the investigation into his conduct is ongoing. 

Phillips' return to the party follows a contentious by-election in Batley and Spen, in which Labour endured a hard-fought battle to win over local Muslim voters against political rivals, including former Labour MP George Galloway. 

Labour candidate Kim Leadbeater managed to win by just 323 votes. However, concerns that Muslim voters are being taken for granted by the party - which pervaded the by-election- have not disappeared.

"The narrowly escaped by-election defeat in Batley and Spen should be seen as a reflection of Muslim voters’ diminishing confidence in the Labour Party’s commitment to the issues that impact them," read the statement from MEND. 

The organisation wants the Labour party to overturn Phillips' reinstatement in order for a full investigation to be completed. 

The New Arab reached out to Trevor Phillips for a request but did not receive a response at the time of publication.