UK: Covid-19: Gove defends Phillips’ controversial appointment

6th May 2020
UK: Covid-19: Gove defends Phillips’ controversial appointment

By Hamed Chapman

London, (The Muslim News): Cabinet Office Minister, Michael Gove, has defended the yet unspecified role of Trevor Phillips in a Public Health England inquiry into the disproportionate impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community in the UK.

Challenged by Editor, Ahmed J Versi, on Sunday about his appointment, Gove described the former Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission as a “distinguished public servant” despite being currently investigated by Labour Party for alleged Islamophobia.

There has been a huge backlash against his inclusion in the inquiry, including from tens of thousands of ethnic minority doctors calling for him to be withdrawn, insisting that any suitable candidate must have a “distinguished track record in successfully engaging with BAME communities.”

Gove said that he was not aware of some of the dismissive comments made by Phillips with Islamophobia undertones that Muslims might have “something to teach the rest of us” about the deadly virus having many members who ritually wash before five-times-a-day prayers. Phillips suggested that Covid-19 death rates from Bangladeshi and Pakistani Muslim communities was not significantly higher than the general population, despite evidence that these communities had higher deaths than the general population.

“I do know that Trevor Phillips as Chair of Equality and Human Rights Commission was obviously someone who was driven by the data and Public Health England would do nothing else other than follow the data in coming to appropriate conclusions,” he said.

“I think that anyone prepared to give their time, who is a distinguished public servant like Trevor Philips to help us in this endeavour is someone who support us well,” the Minister added while being questioned at Downing Street’s daily press conference.

Phillips and his consultancy would be providing expert support to the review into the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on BAME people.

Evidence has also shown that 72 per cent of all NHS and carer Covid-19 deaths have been BAME individuals. There has also been a disproportionate number among member of the public who have died as well.

Gove agreed that the inquiry should not only look at potential biological aspects of deaths for BAME communities from Covid-19, but “perhaps socio-economic structural factors which may lead to inequality and that inequality may have been as a result of discrimination. We need to look at all these things proportionately.”

Photos: Michael Gove (Credit: Richard Townsend/Official Parliament Portrait) and Trevor Phillips (Credit: The Muslim News)

One Response to “UK: Covid-19: Gove defends Phillips’ controversial appointment”

younusMay 12, 2020

One has to read a short collection of chapters written by Michael Gove Celsius 7 7 to understand why he supports Philips appointment despite many people calling into question philips credibility.
Gove is no friend of muslims.

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