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Muslim Professionals Forum expresses disappointment and concern as Trevor Phillips is re-admitted to Labour Party membership  

7th July 2021

The Muslim Professionals Forum has expressed its disappointment to see the Labour Party lift the suspension of Trevor Phillips. It seems that Phillips’s suspension was lifted nearly a month ago. No formal disciplinary panel discussed his reinstatement, and it is not clear who authorised the move.

Muslim communities have long been raising concerns about Islamophobia in the mainstream political parties, and this news will not reassure the Muslim community in the UK that Labour is tackling Islamophobia in its policies and practices.

Trevor Phillips, a former Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), was suspended from the Labour Party in March 2020 after making comments which were alleged to be Islamophobic. He referred to UK Muslims being “a nation within a nation” and alleged that few Muslims wore poppies on Remembrance Day. Baronness Sayeeda Warsi has since accused Phillips of having a flawed view of race and integration and stating that he had a case to answer.

Zarah Sultana, Labour MP for Coventry South, expressed surprise at the reinstatement, claiming that Phillips should have retracted and apologised for his remarks before any reinstatement was considered. She told The Guardian, “Anything less makes a mockery of the idea that the party takes Islamophobia seriously and signals contempt for our Muslim supporters.”

Muslim Professionals Forum Chair, Cllr Khaled Noor, said:

“Last year the Labour Muslim Network (LMN) conducted a survey of Labour Party members. Nearly half of those who responded said that they did not believe the Labour Party takes Islamophobia seriously. We have heard nothing about how the Labour Party has responded to these concerns. The reinstatement of Trevor Phillips, which has been done without any transparency, will not reassure Muslim members and supporters that Islamophobia is being tackled.”