Call to scrap sex and race equality bodies ... and wants sex and race groups scrapped

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The Independent Online
The Law Society was embroiled in accusations of racism and sexism yesterday after its president said that equal opportunities bodies should be abolished, writes Stephen Ward.

In his presidential speech to the Law Society's annual conference, Mr Mears said industrial tribunals had been "hijacked by the discrimination industry".

He asked delegates: "Should not those bodies who fund and encourage these preposterous applications - the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Commission for Racial Equality - have their wings clipped? Is it not time to consider whether they have outlived their usefulness? Are they a public benefit or a public nuisance?

"These organisations were originally set up, quite rightly, to produce greater cohesiveness in society. It is now arguable they are doing the opposite."

Mr Mears, whose election campaign this summer included attacks on political correctness in the Law Society, described as "abuses" the "notorious pregnant servicewomen awards", "the case of an Irishman whose hurt feelings were solaced by the handout of pounds 30,000 or public money, or the temporary secretary who, after working in her job for two hours, obtained more than pounds 8,000 in damages when her employer used "gender specific verbal abuse" towards her.

Mr Mears was swiftly attacked by both the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Commission for Racial Equality which said his comments were based on isolated examples and ignorance.