More pressure on Scotland Yard as Theresa May celebrates Doreen Lawrence 'game changer of the year'

 

Media Editor

The Home Secretary Theresa May has put new pressure on the top brass at Scotland Yard by paying a glowing tribute to the “strength” and “persistence” of Baroness Lawrence, the campaigning mother of murdered student Stephen and an outspoken critic of the Metropolitan Police.

In a special message to the BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour programme, the Home Secretary endorsed Baroness Lawrence’s long fight for justice, which has most recently included a call for “heads to roll” at the Yard after the damning Ellison report into the investigation of the murder of her son in 1993.

Ms May described Baroness Lawrence as “an example to us all” as she declared the peer as Woman’s Hour’s “game changer” of the year.

“Faced by a terrible tragedy, she picked herself up and carried on fighting to ensure that justice could be done, and the fight still continues,” said Ms May. “What is most striking about this woman is the great strength that she has shown over decades – strength to carry on, to keep on going, even in the most difficult times when all seemed impossible. Also striking is the persistence that she has shown, because she has never given up. And finally, what is most impressive about this game changer is that throughout it all, over the years, despite blow after blow, she has dealt with everything with absolute dignity. She truly is an example to us all.”

The Commissioner of the Met, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, last month faced criticism from the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee over the force’s alleged failure to act on death threats being made against Baroness Lawrence.

Among the other women recognised as “Game Changers” in British society in the past 12 months are Julie Bailey, founder of Cure the NHS (the group which campaigned for a public inquiry into health care failings in Mid-Staffordshire); Professor Nazneen Rahman, a geneticist and cancer specialist; Carmel McConnell, activist and founder of Magic Breakfast (which provides healthy breakfasts to primary schools); Julie Bentley, chief executive of Girlguiding; and Nimco Ali and Leyla Hussein, campaigners against female genital mutilation. The “Game Changers” theme is this year’s incarnation of Woman’s Hour’s annual Power List of influential females.

Emma Barnett, the chair of the judging panel and the women’s editor of the Daily Telegraph, said it was significant that no female politicians were chosen for the list. “We on the panel felt that is a clear indicator of two aspects of modern-day Britain: how ‘safe’ politics has become and how the power to effect real change in society has shifted away from bureaucratic Westminster,” she said. “The majority of today’s MPs are focused on upholding the status quo and sadly struggle to be true game changers.”

The other judges on the panel were: Liz Bingham, managing partner at Ernst & Young; Reni Eddo-Lodge, a writer and campaigner; Heather Rabbatts, non-executive director of the Football Association; and Rachel Johnson, former editor of The Lady.

Later this month Baroness Lawrence will be one of five daily guest editors taking part in the “Woman’s Hour Takeover” week, when those invited are encouraged to explore areas that resonate with them. She will talk about people who have inspired her, including Maya Angelou and Barack Obama, and host reports on health issues and the need to equip young people with the right skills for modern society.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are in need of a HR Manage...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager - HR Consultancy - £65,000 OTE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + £65,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Birmingham, M...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'