GMB: Ranvir grills Gillian Keegan on Kasumu’s resignation
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Mr Kasumu was Downing Street’s special adviser for civil society and communities but told colleagues yesterday he was stepping down from his position. This came as the Government released its report on race and ethnic disparities.
Following his resignation, Gillian Keegan, the universities minister, faced backlash after claiming she doesn’t know who he is.
Ms Keegan told Times Radio: “I don’t even know who he is!”
This comes after the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg revealed Mr Kasumu told Prime Minister Boris Johnson he was considering leaving his position in February amid “unbearable” tensions within No 10.
In his resignation letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Kasumu warned the Conservative Party against pursuing “politics steeped in division”.
He wrote: “I fear for what may become of the party in the future by choosing to pursue a politics steeped in division.
“As someone that has spent his whole adult life serving others, that tension has been at times unbearable.”
Mr Kasumu retracted his resignation after talks with vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi.
Today, a Downing Street spokesperson said Mr Kasumu had been planning “for several months” to leave Government in May.
They added: “Any suggestion that this decision has been made this week or that this is linked to the [commission’s] report is completely inaccurate.”
Mr Kasumu’s resignation comes a day after a Government-backed review of inherent and systemic racism and racial disparities in Britain was published.
The landmark report concluded the UK is not yet a “post-racial country” but has proved successful in removing race-based disparity in education and to a lesser extent, the economy.
The report outlined the UK “should be regarded as a model for other white-majority countries”.
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Mr Johnson said the report was “original and stimulating” but he did not agree with “absolutely everything” in it.
The Prime Minister said: “I don’t say the government is going to agree with absolutely everything in it, but it has some original and stimulating work in it that I think people need to read and to consider.
“There are very serious issues that our society faces to do with racism that we need to address.
“We’ve got to do more to fix it, we need to understand the severity of the problem, and we’re going to be looking at all the ideas that they have put forward.”
However, the report has been widely criticised with former equality and human rights commissioner Lord Simon Woolley saying there was a “crisis at No 10”.
Labour’s shadow equalities secretary Marsha de Cordova also called the report “divisive”.
She said: “To have your most senior advisor on ethnic minorities quit as you publish a so-called landmark report on race in the UK is telling of how far removed the Tories are from the everyday lived experiences of Black, Asian and ethnic minority people.”
Mr Kasumu played a key role in the vaccine campaign this week alongside Lenny Henry.
The campaign urged black Britons to get vaccinated.
Mr Kasumu will continue to work on vaccine uptake until the end of May.
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