British MP Welcomes Consultation on ‘Caste’

Bob Blackman, MP from Harrow East, visits India

Bob Blackman MP welcomed the Public Consultation on ‘Caste’ and says this is an opportunity to repeal the Caste legislation….reports Asian Lite News

Bob Blackman, MP from Harrow East

Bob Blackman, MP for Harrow East and the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for British Hindus, welcomes the Government’s announcement of a public consultation seeking representations and views on the need and evidence of ‘caste’ based discrimination in the UK.

Having opposed the insertion of the term ‘caste’ within the Equality Act 2010, which defines ‘caste’ as a racial characteristic, Bob is pleased that an opportunity is finally being given to the communities most affected to comment on it. This includes those Hindus and Sikhs who have expressed a great deal of dismay over the unintended harm caused as a result of the association of ‘caste discrimination’ as a practice associated with these communities.

“I welcome this open public consultation debating the inclusion of the term ‘caste’ in the Equality Act 2010 as it provides an equal opportunity for all to make their thoughts on the matter known,” he said.

“I have received numerous representations on the subject and it is clear to me that inserting ‘caste’ as a character of race in the Equality Act 2010 was an unwanted, ill thought out and highly divisive act. It was only inserted via an amendment put by Labour and Liberal Democrat Lords to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, and this happened without any due oversight or proper debate on the repercussions of introducing such a term into the British legal framework.

“It is welcome that the Government has opened a consultation questioning the basis and logic of its inclusion while looking carefully at the consequences of the legislation. So far there has not been any verifiable evidence presented in favour of the need for this legislation and so I think it is the right time for an examination into whether caste legislation is needed at all and I hope Hindu and Sikh communities will utilise this opportunity to present their representations to the government.”

The Regulatory Reform Act 2013 amended section 9(5) of the Equality Act 2010 to provide that the Government “must by order … provide for caste to be an aspect of race” in the House of Lords. Conservative MPs voted against the amendment but were forced to concede in the 2nd House of Commons vote due to the Lib-Dems siding with the Labour Party to push it through.