Phillips Courts the Tories with Business Lunch; Londoner's Diary

Article excerpt

THERE was only one black person among the 26 speakers at this week's Spectator Paths Back to Prosperity conference at Church House. Needless to say, it was Trevor Phillips, chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Perhaps more embarrassingly, there was only one woman, Julie Meyer, American-born chief executive of Ariadne Capital.

So was it really appropriate that the EHRC sponsored a lunch at the event for 200 business folk, such as Peter Bazalgette, Will Hutton, Sir Martin Jacomb, and Sir Martin Sorrell, with Mediterranean vegetables, lamb cutlets and coconut pannacotta with pineapple granita and French and Spanish wines? One of the first Parliamentary questions to be asked when the House of Lords returns after its summer break will concern the sponsorship by the EHRC of this lavish three-course meal. Equalities campaigner Lord Ouseley will ask the Government to explain this profligate waste of public money.

The EHRC receives [pounds sterling]70 million a year from the Government to fight discrimination.

As its controversial chairman, Trevor Phillips has just been reappointed for a second term by Harriet Harman in spite of concerns about financial irregularities as well as performance and many calls for him to go. …