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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 December 2006, 20:38 GMT
Mayor's fresh attack on Phillips
Ken Livingstone
Ken Livingstone called Mr Phillips a "complete dud"
London mayor Ken Livingstone has attacked race equality chief Trevor Phillips, saying he could not have carried out his job if he was white.

The mayor said Mr Phillips, head of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE), was a "complete dud" and said he no longer defended victims of racism.

He said a white man would not have been able to oversee the winding down of the CRE which is being replaced next year.

A CRE spokeswoman said the mayor's comments were "unfortunate".

'Cunning wheeze'

Mr Livingstone told LBC radio: "I think, if Trevor Phillips wasn't black, he couldn't have done what he's done.

"If a white man had been put into the CRE with the job of winding it down, there would have been uproar and they wouldn't have got away with it.

"It really was a quite cunning wheeze on the part of those people in government who never really liked the idea. 'Oh, look at these difficult black and Asian people making demands' - and now its been silenced and wound down."

The new Commission for Equality and Human Rights will combine the Commission for Racial Equality, the Disability Rights Commission and the Equal Opportunities Commission.

Trevor Phillips
Trevor Phillips will head the new commission

Mr Livingstone said he was opposed to the winding down of the CRE, saying he did not believe all minority groups should be included in the human rights commission.

The mayor also said he believed Mr Phillips was more interested in media coverage than helping people who had suffered racial abuse.

"Trevor thinks he's doing his job as long as he's all over the media," he said.

"Any public figure has got to project their views, but they used to do a lot of work at the CRE in taking up genuine cases of racism and prosecuting people and dealing with it there. All that's been wound down now."

The CRE spokeswoman said: "The CRE has always prided itself on bringing issues of race away from the margins and into the mainstream."

In September, Mr Livingstone accused Mr Phillips of "pandering to the right" so much that "soon he'll be joining the BNP".

Ken Livingstone said Mr Phillips had "an absolutely disgraceful record" at the Commission for Racial Equality.

Profile: Trevor Phillips
17 Jan 03 |  UK Politics

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