A day after a controversial report on racial tensions in Britain was released by a government-appointed committee, one of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s top black advisers has resigned.
Businessman and special adviser to the government on civil society issues from 2019, Samuel Kasumou will resign next month, as it became known yesterday from the prime minister’s residence on Downing Street. The relevant announcement states that Kasoumou “planned to retire for several months”, while his decision is disconnected from the disputed report. Speaking to reporters, Johnson thanked his adviser for his services and praised his contribution to the government campaign aimed at convincing minority communities of the need for COVID-19 vaccination.
The Johnson administration has set up a commission to investigate racial inequality and racism following the massive Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the assassination of unarmed African-American George Floyd by white police officers in the United States. In a report released Wednesday, the commission said that while “overt racism” was still present in British society, the country’s institutions were no longer plagued by “systemic racism” and that inequalities to the detriment of the black minority. are due more to factors such as class background and family background.
The commission’s findings have drawn strong criticism from the opposition and non-governmental organizations, which speak of a dangerous devaluation of the racist phenomenon. But Boris Johnson himself tried to keep a safe distance. “I do not want to discount that the government will agree on everything (with the committee), but there is original and encouraging work in its conclusion and I think the people deserve to read and judge it,” the British prime minister said yesterday.
However, Simon Woolley, a former government adviser on equality and a member of the House of Lords, called the commission’s report “dirty” and “divisive” and said that the resignation of Samuel Kasumu was directly linked to its publication.
According to the BBC, Johnson’s adviser had submitted his resignation in February. In his resignation letter, he complained that the ruling Conservative Party was “immersed in division” over the racial issue. After discussions with government officials, he was persuaded to temporarily postpone his resignation and withdrew his letter. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated racial inequalities in Britain. Blacks have more than double the number of victims, in proportion to their population, compared to whites, while the probability of being arrested by the police is three times higher.