Unite calls on equality watchdog to probe Conservative Party over ‘dog-whistle’ campaigns

Trade union releases dossier on racism in the Conservative Party


Britain’s largest trade union has called on the Equality and Human Rights Commission to look at whether the Conservative Party’s ‘negative dog-whistle campaigning’ has damaged community relations in the UK.

Unite the Union released a short dossier of evidence today showing a record of racist and bigoted statements by Tory members, including Boris Johnson and cabinet member Oliver Letwin, going back to the late 1980s.

They include cases of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia and use of racist terms like ‘Pakis’ and ‘Jungle Bunnies’. The dossier notes that in only two cases has the party expelled the offending members. You can read it here.

Unite confirmed to Left Foot Forward that it was considering formally reporting the Conservative Party to the Commission, which challenges discrimination and protects human rights.

The union’s call for action comes amid a row over anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. It drew particular attention to Zac Goldsmith’s campaign for London Mayor, which has played up alleged links between Labour rival Sadiq Khan and Muslim extremists.

Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, said:

‘Now voters can see for themselves the sort of party the Conservative party is and the sort of government this prime minister is happy to lead.

It is a party where the routine denigration of peoples and culture is too often met with no more than a shake of the head.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission should look very closely at the conduct of the Conservative party and its repeated indulgence of fear-based politics.

Heed the warning from one of their own, Baroness Warsi, that the dog-whistle politics beloved by this prime minister and his party is damaging our country.’

Harish Patel, Unite officer for equalities, added:

‘These comments have no place in British life but by indulging them this Conservative government is sending out a signal that prejudice and racism are acceptable.

The Labour movement has fought for years to tackle racism, with little or no help whatsoever from the Conservative party.

In fact, its nasty mayoral campaign in London is undoing the decent work communities have done to build bridges between one another.’

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