Manifesto for a racism-free post-Brexit Britain

By | May 22, 2017
Power of the Black Vote

A new coalition of 20 race equality campaign groups has launched a manifesto for a racism-free post-Brexit Britain which includes a set of demands they want the next government to adopt. The ‘Manifesto for Race Equality in Britain’ includes policy proposals to tackle racial inequalities in the jobs market, housing, and criminal justice.

Proposals include:

  • A comprehensive government-wide race equality strategy;
  • Brexit negotiations must be “race equality-proofed” to safeguard rights protecting citizens against discrimination;
  • A new law prohibiting online hate which forces social media firms to take action.

The online manifesto has just gone live:

The website also features new analysis of the power of the black and ethnic minority (BME) vote in this snap general election. The Power of the Black Vote report shows that:

  • Seven of the top ten swing seats have BME electorates significantly larger than the 2015 majority;
  • 45 of the top 50 swing seats, 45 have BME electorates larger than the 2015 majority;
  • 96 of the top 200 marginal seats have BME electorates large enough to make the difference.

The report concludes that Labour could seriously reduce the Conservatives majority by holding onto their share of BME voters. The Tories could seal a comprehensive victory by winning over more BME citizens, and the Lib Dems need to increase their appeal in diverse seats to have any hope of winning them back.

Race Equality should be a right, not a privilege.

The Race Equality 2017 coalition was coordinated by Operation Black Vote.

Simon Woolley, Director of Operation Black Vote, said: “Britain is at a crossroads on Brexit, immigration, and British identity. How these issues play out in this snap election will determine the country's direction for a generation. The key question is to what extent will black and minority ethnic communities (BME) be involved in this debate?

“Persistent race inequalities in employment, education, housing and the criminal justice system has meant and lack of social mobility for BME children growing up to be adults is nothing short of a scandal. Many do succeed despite the barriers but too many fail to have their potential recognised much less fulfilled. That is why we are calling for a government-wide race equality strategy to root out racial inequality wherever it lurks in the system."

Dr Omar Khan, Director of the Runnymede Trust, said: “Given the persistence and extent of racial inequalities we need the next government to have an actual plan to reduce racial inequalities, not just warm words. With post-Brexit Britain raising existential questions about who we are, we also need the next government to affirm that race equality is a core British value and that minorities won't see their rights and protections weakened.

Viv Ahmun, from Blaksox, said: "Unemployment of 30% amongst 16-24 year old black people in comparison to just 13% amongst white people of the same age is a shocking disparity that feeds into and drives the poverty of opportunity that underpins rises in violence and mental ill health. The next government must do more to increase opportunities for employment and business development within BME communities.”

Time for a UK Civil Rights Movement

Zita Holbourne, National Chair, Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC) UK and National Vice President, Public and Commercial Services Union, said: "Austerity combined with institutional racism is impacting disproportionately on BME workers. Our manifesto seeks to address the adverse impacts of cuts on BME workers from redundancies in the public sector having a double impact on BME women to zero hour contracts meaning young BME workers have no job security, whilst addressing the structural systems of discrimination that already existed before cuts, in appraisal, promotion, progression and recruitment. Race Equality should be a right, not a privilege.

Patrick Vernon OBE, trustee of Bernie Grant Trust and founder of 100 Great Black Britons, said: “This is the 30th anniversary of Black History Month and the election of the late Bernie Grant, Diane Abbott, Paul Boateng and Keith Vaz as MPs. Tackling racial inequalities still have not been fully achieved. Our manifesto is a demand for our civil and economics rights to be taken seriously and delivered to all political parties.

Lee Jasper, Blacksox sponsor, said: “Black and Asian people in the UK today look with trepidation towards an uncertain future in a Brexit Britain. Racial inequality in the UK is now wider than any other time in our history. Hate crime is rising and black unemployment is at record levels. This no time abandon hope and refuse to vote. It’s time for UK Civil Rights movement.

About OBV

Operation Black Vote is non-partisan political campaigning organisation. At its core Operation Black Vote exists to ensure there is greater racial justice and equality throughout the UK. OBV seeks to inspire BME communities to engage with public institutions in order to address the persistent race inequalities in areas such as education, health and employment. OBV's work spans a number of areas including voter registration, lobbying politicians, mentoring schemes and political leadership programmes.

For further information visit

Organisations supporting the ‘Race Equality 2017’ manifesto include:
Runnymede Trust; Aspire Education Group; Coreplan; Ukren; BTEG; Friends, Families and Travellers; BSWN; Blacksox; Father 2 Father; DWC Global; Reallity; Voyage Youth; Race on the Agenda; Every Generation Media; BARAC; JUST Yorkshire; Society of Black Lawyers; Race Equality Foundation; Bernie Grant Trust.