Stonewall not impressed with new equality head

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Leading gay rights organisation Stonewall has expressed concern over press reports that the current chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality is set to take control of the new ‘super-commission’ for human rights and equality.

Trevor Phillips has had a controversial tenure at the CRE, criticising the concept of multi-culturalism and warning against the dangers of de-facto segregation in schools.

The creation of the new Commission for Equality and Human Rights has been equally controversial, with gay rights activists complaining that their specific concerns will be marginalised within a body responsible for everything from equal pay for women to the rights of the disabled.

“There is no overbearing evidence that Trevor has a commitment to gay equality,” Ben Summerskill, Stonewall’s chief executive, told The Independent.

“Gay people were almost invisible in the recent Equalities Review, which he chaired. This is a huge challenge for Trevor to rise to and he will have a very fast learning curve.”

As reported earlier this week on, Mr Phillips is almost certain to be appointed chair of the new Commission, when the CRE, the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Disability Rights Commission are merged next year.

A key criticism of the new Commission is that it will be attempting to represent disparate groups, with Muslims wanting to promote their rights but opposing to gay rights, for example.

Trevor Phillips was head of Current Affairs at London Weekend Television before joining the Labour party in 2000. He was a member of the London Assembly from 2000 to 2003, before resigning to run the CRE.