Racism in Parliament


ITV survey identifies racism suffered by MPs while working in parliament 

A consistent feature of BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) employees is that the do face some form of discrimination or racism in the workplace. This can be seen either overtly through direct comments or through lack of opportunity. Most of this occurs at low level management or below, resulting in a non-diverse leadership team.


This issue has now been highlighted in the house of commons (unsurprisingly its not very high up on the news agenda).


According to an anonymous ITV survey, 62% of the BAME MPs who responded said that they had experienced some from of racism from staff in the houses of parliament, an even more shocking result was that over half said that they experienced it from fellow MPs. Its assumed that in most of these incidents, the offending party would not have been aware that they were being racist, yet even leaders in the BAME community would not have felt empowered enough to raise the issue.


The details of the incidents were quite shocking, Tulip Siddiq from the labour party described how when she was pregnant with her daughter, a fellow MP said that she was surprised as she thought people from Asian backgrounds were more likely to abort baby girls, some MPs were told when using an MPs lift that it was not “designated for cleaners”. Dawn butler MP was once escorted out of the members tea room.


The difficulty for people in leadership roles is that they are looked upon to set examples for the rest of us, and when stories like the ones in the ITV report emerge, their lack of action makes others in the BAME community feel like there is no real recourse. The reality is that our leaders face similar discrimination and it take sa very bold voice to speak out against it as this would also mean speaking out against colleagues, presumably ones who may be far more senior.


The reporting mechanisms of racism mean that anonymity is always going to be difficult, so, people working to promote inclusiveness must find a way we can provide a platform for racism to be called out without leaving the victim in an uncomfortable position.


At Ohcul jobs, we promote diversity within the workplace through removing the opportunity for people’s unconscious bias to reflect in the recruitment process.

Employee diversity provides a number of benefits to any organisation (large and small). Ethnically diverse companies perform 35% better than their industry median and gender diverse companies are 15% more likely to haver returns above the industry median. With the national customer base becoming more diverse, it is important that a company is representative to fully understand its clients’ needs and, according to the latest research, 67% of employees cite a diverse workforce is a key factor when looking at a role.

At Ohcul, we remove the opportunity for hidden bias from a CV review stage. Our unique tool removes identifying data from a clients CV allowing a recruiter to progress the best candidates.

If you would like some more information you can contact us on info@ohcul.com or visit the web site www.ohcul.com