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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 April 2003, 16:50 GMT 17:50 UK
Blair letter backs fight against racism
Tony Blair
Tony Blair called for a fairer society
Tony Blair has called for a "genuinely fair and inclusive society" in which racism has no place, on the 10th anniversary of Stephen Lawrence's murder.

"There can be no room for complacency," he wrote in a letter to the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, which helps young black people follow Stephen's ambition of becoming an architect.

"There is a great deal more to do if we are to build a genuinely fair and inclusive society."

Mr Blair said the journey had begun to addressing the institutional failings unearthed by Stephen's parents, Doreen and Neville.

Mr Blair said he was "absolutely committed" and shared the vision of Stephen's parents of "a future where there are no racial divisions and everyone has the opportunity to fulfil their potential".

He said the UK was improving its race relations framework with a "genuine commitment, shared by all our public institutions, to ensure they are more representative and responsive" to all the people they serve.

Their courage and dignity at a time of enormous personal tragedy have impressed us all
Tony Blair
On Stephen Lawrence's parents
He wrote: "One of Britain's great strengths is that it is a country of many races, many cultures and many faiths.

"The diversity of our society is respected and celebrated. Fairness, tolerance and justice are values that the overwhelming majority of decent citizens share."

Stephen, an 18-year-old A-Level student, was stabbed to death by a gang of white youths in a brutal and unprovoked attack as he waited at a bus stop in Eltham, south east London.

Extraordinary contribution

Mr Blair was unable to attend a memorial service at St Martin's-in-the-Field church in central London.

However the prime minister said that despite their grief, Stephen's parents had made an extraordinary contribution towards building an inclusive society.

"No-one has worked harder towards this goal than Doreen and Neville Lawrence," he continued.

"Their courage and dignity at a time of enormous personal tragedy have impressed us all.

"They have worked tirelessly to improve race relations in this country and to ensure our society learns the lessons from the senseless murder of their talented son, Stephen."



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