Politics

Charity wins battle with Tory MPs over race report criticism

The Runnymede Trust has emerged victorious following a battle with a group of Tory MPs who demanded an official probe into its “woke” race equality work citing political bias.

The organisation was accused in April of breaking its charitable objectives by criticism of the controversial Sewell Report, with MPs accusing it of being motivated by anger at the government.

However, the Charity Commission has ruled that the trust was not in breach of guidelines — nor did trustees breach their legal duties and responsibilities when they decided to work with the Good Law Project in tackling government croynism.

Helen Earner, director of regulatory services at the Charity Commission, said: “We take all concerns raised with us about charities seriously – whether they come from members of the public, parliamentarians, or the media.

“In this case, we have found no breach of our guidance. However, we have told the trustees of the Runnymede Trust that they must ensure the charity’s engagement with political parties and politicians is balanced.”

Clive Jones, chair of the trust, welcomed the ruling and said it worked with all political parties.

“As the nation’s heartfelt outpouring after the recent European football final confirmed, the English people – and indeed the people of all four nations of the United Kingdom – understand that racism still exists and must be tackled in all its forms,” he said.

“This feedback from the Charity Commission confirms our belief that the Runnymede Trust has an important and worthy role to play in supporting our country in our shared commitment to achieve racial equity, and to make the UK a truly inclusive and post-racial society.

“The Runnymede Trust has met with every prime minister since Ted Heath in 1970. We look forward to continuing our relationship with parties across the political spectrum and with stakeholders across our communities – and to meeting with Boris Johnson when the opportunity presents itself.

“We would take this opportunity to reiterate our belief that the UK is the greatest nation in the world, not least in terms of equality and opportunity. But we cannot afford to leave anyone behind in terms of outcomes.”

John Hayes, MP for South Holland and The Deepings, took aim at trust during an April parliamentary session, confirming that he and other MPs, including Tom Hunt and Darren George Henry, were among those to complain to the commission.

He called upon equalities minister Kemi Badenoch to make representations to “stop the worthless work of organisations, often publicly funded, promulgating weird, woke ideas and in doing so seeding doubt and fear, and more than that, disharmony and disunity.”

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