Liz Truss criticised after describing gender and race equalities debate as 'fashionable'

Liz Truss MP

Liz Truss MP - Credit: Parliament TV

Liz Truss has been berated for suggesting that the debate surrounding gender and race equality issues had been dominated by "fashion" and not "facts".

The equalities minister today announced a change to government policy around systemic discrimination issues, promising a move away from "identity politics" in favour of a focus on people's social class and individual "character".

She said the discrimination debate should not just concentrate on race, religion, sexual orientation and disability.

Speaking at the Centre for Policy Studies think tank, Truss said: “To make our society more equal, we need the equality debate to be led by facts, not by fashion.

“Time and time again, we see politicians making their own evidence-free judgements.”

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She promised government policy would "focus fiercely" on fixing geographic inequality going forward, addressing what she called "the real problems people face in their everyday lives".

New figures revealed this week show the gender pay gap has significantly widened at the Department for International Trade (DIT) run by Truss.

Labour said the growing divide “raises serious questions” about the government’s commitment to close the gender pay gap when Truss’s department is “clearly going backwards”.

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Taking to Twitter, shadow trade minister Emily Thornberry wrote: "253 people have been appointed by Liz Truss as trade advisers since July: 75% Men; 95% White; only one Black person. And this is the minister for women & equalities! No wonder she’s announcing today that Whitehall race & gender targets will be scrapped."

Shadow justice secretary David Lammy followed up: "Liz Truss' attempt to separate class from race is divisive garbage. We need to create a fairer society for everyone - but this means recognising that the barriers faced by Black, Asian and other minority ethnic people are facts not 'fashion'."

Comedian Nish Kumar quipped: "I’ve read that Liz Truss speech and she’s right. Inequality is a disgrace and whoever has been in charge for the last decade should be ashamed of themselves."

The Mirror's Mikey Smith pointed out: "Liz Truss, who has just spent half an hour talking about how inequality can’t be defeated through symbolism, has just announced the government’s Equalities Hub is going to move to the North."

Human Rights barrister Adam Wagner put it: "I wanted to say something about Liz Truss's announcement on equalities and have thought about it for 12 hours but honestly I still can't fathom what on earth they are on about. Policy sounds like it was created by a computer randomly putting together words from Spiked articles."

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