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Keir Starmer says he and whole party will undertake unconscious bias training after Black Lives Matter criticism

Sir Keir Starmer

2 min read

Sir Keir Starmer has said he will undertake unconscious bias training, along with all Labour Party staff, after a row over his description of the Black Lives Matter campaign.

Listener Sharon dialled into the LBC 'Call Keir' show on Monday to say she was "extremely disappointed" to hear the party leader refer to the campaign as "a moment" last month and asked if he would consider updating his training on the issue.

Sir Keir later said he regretted his choice of words and was referring to the movement and its recent protests as a "defining moment" and "a turning point".

"What I was saying is that Black Lives Matter needs to be a moment, and I meant a defining moment and turning point, I didn't mean a fleeting moment," he said.

"And the reason I said that is because I've spoken to lots of black community leaders in the last few weeks and they have said to me over and over again 'for heaven's sake, this has got to be a turning point'. 

"It's got to be the point at which people actually realise things have got to change."

The party leader told the show that he now plans to complete an unconscious bias training course, aimed at combatting ingrained stereotypes, which will also be undertaken by all Labour staff. 

"In the Labour Party we are introducing [training] for all of our staff and I am going to lead from the top on this and do that training first," he said.

"We took a decision to introduce it across the Labour Party and I think that's the right thing to do and I think I should lead by example by doing it first."

Sir Keir said he planned to do the two-to-three-hour course "as soon as I can book in for it". 

"I think everybody should have unconscious bias training, I think it is important," he added.

"There is always the risk of unconscious bias and just saying 'oh well it only applies to other people and not me' is not the right thing to do, so I am going to lead from the front on this and do the training."

Caller Sharon, from Walthamstow, said she "applauded" the Labour leader's action. 

"That was really what I was looking for, I am really pleased about that, I think it's very important and he's right, everyone should look into that," she added.


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