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Senior civil servant provokes storm as he endorses Black Lives Matter in email to hundreds of staff

Senior civil servant provokes storm as he claims ‘systemic racism’ exists in Britain and endorses Black Lives Matter in an email to hundreds of staff

  • Senior civil servant Iain Bell announces he is learning about his ‘white privilege’ 
  • He says collecting statistics ‘is done with only White People in the virtual room’
  • Some staff claim email is at odds with the principle of Civil Service impartiality 

A senior civil servant has caused a storm by claiming that ‘systemic racism’ exists in Britain and endorsing the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement in an email to hundreds of staff.

Iain Bell, deputy national statistician at the Office for National Statistics, said he was learning about ‘my white privilege and how that looks to others’ and expressed regret that a Census question on ethnicity had caused offence.

Elsewhere in his email, he described the vital role of the ONS in ‘shining a light on today’s society’, but added that ‘too often the collection of… statistics is done with only White People in the virtual room’. He signed off his note: ‘Black Lives Matter!’

Iain Bell, deputy national statistician at the Office for National Statistics, said he was learning about ‘my white privilege and how that looks to others’ and expressed regret that a Census question on ethnicity had caused offence

However, some staff claim his email is at odds with the principle of Civil Service impartiality and point out that BLM UK, the group behind the fundraising campaign that has raised more than £1 million, supports the dismantling of capitalism. 

One staff member claimed: ‘The ONS is completely divided and the saga won’t go away. People are in absolute shock that he can stand by the actions of BLM.’

In his email, Mr Bell wrote: ‘Following the abhorrent killing of George Floyd, there have rightly been a string of protests about bringing an end to systemic racism in America, here and in many other countries. I know it has affected us all.’

He added: ‘It worries me how often we have caused offence in the development of the Census question on ethnicity. I know it means as a leader I have much more to learn and do.’

The email prompted a flurry of internal emails. One, from an ONS field interviewer, said ‘the phrase “Black Lives Matter!” with which Iain signs his email is not a politically neutral expression of the anti-racism we all feel in our bones. It is the name of a specific organisation with an explicitly radical agenda’.

Last night, the ONS said: ‘Impartiality and independence are fundamental principles of the ONS.’

However, some staff claim his email is at odds with the principle of Civil Service impartiality and point out that BLM UK, the group behind the fundraising campaign that has raised more than £1 million, supports the dismantling of capitalism. Protesters are pictured above in London during a Black Lives Matter demonstration last month

However, some staff claim his email is at odds with the principle of Civil Service impartiality and point out that BLM UK, the group behind the fundraising campaign that has raised more than £1 million, supports the dismantling of capitalism. Protesters are pictured above in London during a Black Lives Matter demonstration last month

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk