HL Deb 28 October 1976 vol 376 cc627-8

3.24 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government who are to be the officials and members of the Commission for Racial Equality and from what ethnic groups will they be drawn.


My Lords, the House will know that Mr. David Lane has accepted an invitation to become chairman of the new Commission. In appointing members, including deputy chairmen, my right honourable friend will have in mind that they should reflect a wide range of experience and background and while no one will be appointed to represent a particular ethnic group the Commission will include a substantial number of members drawn from the minority communities. The appointment of the staff of the Commission is not a matter for my right honourable friend.


My Lords, I thank the Minister for that reply. Is it not the case that a rather unfortunate psychology was first caused because the four directors publicly announced were all white persons? Is it not desirable that there should be real partnership between the communities if we are to have success in this matter? Is it the case, as reported yesterday, that Mr. Lane has now agreed that two of the new directors should be appointed from non-white persons and the majority of the 14 Commissioners?


My Lords, I first of all agree with my noble friend that what all of us are seeking in this matter is a real partnership, and I entirely share his view. But I must emphasise that the appointment of staff is not a matter for the Government; it is a matter for the chairman of the Commission, and I think that is the right way to approach this. I am quite sure that the chairman of the Commission will take note of what my noble friend has said.


My Lords, could the Minister tell us whether, as the original and principal Creator of unequal races, it is proposed that a representative of Almighty God should be included on this Commission?