David Cameron and Nick Clegg reassure Doreen Lawrence over coalition's commitment to equality

 

David Cameron and Nick Clegg have written to the mother of murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence seeking to reassure her of the coalition's commitment to equality.

After Doreen Lawrence accused the Government of ignoring race relations issues, the Prime Minister and his deputy sent a joint reply paying tribute to her work and insisting they "care a great deal" about the subject.

Mrs Lawrence claimed last week that Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg ignored a letter she wrote to them a month ago raising concerns that the lessons of Sir William Macpherson's inquiry into the death of her son were being ignored.

She highlighted the review of the public sector equality duty (PSED), which ensures the impact of Government policies on minorities is fully assessed, announced by Home Secretary Theresa May earlier this year.

In a letter, Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg wrote: "We recognise how important it is to ensure the legacy of Stephen's murder and Lord Macpherson's report will never be lost. That legacy was to change fundamentally and forever the way we think about race in this country.

"We know you have worked tirelessly to drive these improvements and are extremely grateful to you for your work. We also want to reiterate the Government's commitment to equal treatment and equal opportunity.

"We care a great deal about making sure our policies never marginalise or discriminate."

They added that it was a "good time" to ensure the PSED was "working as intended" and said the review would be undertaken by an "independent high-level steering group" and subject to intensive consultation.

"We can assure you that we will involve a wide range of organisations," they wrote.

In January, two men - Gary Dobson and David Norris - were jailed for life for Stephen's murder in 1993. Mrs Lawrence continues to press for the tracing and arrest of others involved in the murder.

She told The Guardian last week: "Race is definitely not on the Government's agenda.

"I don't really understand it because we all want a society in which we can live safely and live freely and to have police officers doing what they need to do on the street.

"But when it comes to race, they feel as if they are doing us a favour rather than doing what is right."

Richard Stone - an adviser to the Macpherson inquiry who co-authored Mrs Lawrence's recent letter to the party leaders, including Labour's Ed Miliband - said the response was "written very carefully" and contained "nothing concrete".

"If they were really taking this seriously, they would have said something to show they really understand the importance of this issue and the risks of allowing society to go backwards," he said.

"They say, for example, that there will be no extra money to fund the review. If they were genuinely committed to making this work they would have found the extra money to do it.

"The Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister must take ownership of this issue. It is important to everyone that equalities are properly measured."

Imran Khan, solicitor for the Lawrence family, accused the Government of "watering things down".

"Jack Straw, who was home secretary when the inquiry was done, has said publicly that he thought the one thing that he wanted to be remembered for as part of his tenure in government was (the) Stephen Lawrence Inquiry and the report that came out of it, and you would hope that those in coalition now would have effectively done the same thing and saw the Lawrence case, the inquiry and what Doreen has been doing as something to champion," he told LBC radio.

"But far from it. They've been watering things down and it's really unfortunate when things have been done this way and Doreen's got justice. I think the coalition Government should be coming forward and supporting her, not ignoring her as appears to be the case."

PA

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

Voices
Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
voices

By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

Arts and Entertainment
music
Life and Style
fashion
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
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 General

Humanities Teacher - Greater Manchester

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...

Design Technology Teacher

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...

Foundation Teacher

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...

English Teacher- Manchester

£19200 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Are you a ...

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes