UK government slammed over coronavirus inquiry

UK government slammed over coronavirus inquiry
The UK government has come under fire for appointing Trevor Phillips (L) to an inquiry examining why ethnic minorities in the country are being disproportionately harmed by COVID-19. (File/AFP)
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Updated 30 April 2020

UK government slammed over coronavirus inquiry

UK government slammed over coronavirus inquiry
  • Phillips, former head of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, has been criticized for past remarks about British Muslims

LONDON: The UK government has come under fire for appointing Trevor Phillips to an inquiry examining why ethnic minorities in the country are being disproportionately harmed by COVID-19.
Phillips, former head of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, has been criticized for past remarks about British Muslims, whom he described as a “nation within a nation.”
On another occasion, he suggested that a Christian child being placed into Muslim foster care was “like child abuse.”
Sixteen black and minority ethnic (BAME) medical organizations wrote to Public Health England (PHE) and Health Secretary Matt Hancock urging them to “withdraw the participation of Mr.Phillips” in the inquiry.
Phillips’ appointment comes amid reports that 25 out of 26 UK doctors and two-thirds of overall National Health Service staff who have died from COVID-19 have been from BAME backgrounds.
Harun Khan, secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), said the appointment of Phillips “sends a clear signal to British Muslims that Public Health England is not taking this matter seriously.” The MCB said the appointment is “insensitive” and “wholly inappropriate.”
But Prof. Kevin Fenton, PHE’s regional director in London, said Phillips and Prof. Richard Webber “have been asked to support this critical work as their specialist consultancy has the right skills and experience.”