Boris Johnson’s government has been accused of trying to downplay structural racism in the UK, after its review concluded that claims the country is institutionally racist are “not borne out by the evidence”.

The commission on race and ethnic disparities – set up by the prime minister in the wake of last year’s Black Lives Matter protests – has found the UK acts as “a model” for other white-majority countries when it comes to racial equality in education and the workplace.

Dr Tony Sewell CBE

Sewell’s appointment last year was met with dismay by campaigners, who pointed to Sewell’s past attempts to play down the effects of institutional racism and focus instead on placing responsibility on the black British community. He is well known on the media circuit for arguing fiercely for the idea that institutional and structural racism doesn’t exist in the UK

Sewell, who runs a charity called Generating Genius, which works with minority ethnic children to prepare them for careers in science and technology, carried out a review of London schools when Boris Johnson was the capital’s mayor.

Sewell also had to apologise after the Guardian highlighted references he had made to “tortured queens playing hide and seek” in a newspaper column written after Justin Fashanu became the UK’s first openly gay footballer in 1990.

Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE

Aderin-Pocock is a leading space scientist and science communicator who presents the long-running astronomy show Sky at Night.

She holds a degree in Physics and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Imperial College. She is also a research fellow in the department of science and technology at University College London.

Alongside her academic work, Aderin-Pocock set up her own company, Science Innovation Ltd, that has engaged 350,000 schoolchildren, mainly in UK inner-city schools, on the wonders of space science.

Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock | Faculty of Engineering | Imperial College London

Aftab Chughtai MBE

Chughtai is a businessman who owns and runs a department store in Birmingham, and has also been a member of the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce. He received an MBE in 2016 in recognition of his services to business and community relations in Birmingham.

Chughtai came under scrutiny when it was revealed that one of his stores had failed to pay a worker the minimum wage. At the time, Chughtai said that the underpayment was an “isolated incident”.

Keith Fraser

Fraser is a member of the government’s Youth Justice Board, and is also an adviser for the National Police Chiefs Council’s Digital Engagement Project for Young People.

Previously, Fraser worked as a superintendent and chief inspector in the West Midlands police.

Naureen Khalid

Khalid is an educational professional who works in school governance. She is the chair of two local governing bodies, one of a primary school within a multi-academy trust and another secondary school within a national system trust.

Dr Dambisa Moyo

Moyo is a Zambian economist who specialises in looking at international economic affairs. She studied at the University of Zambia before finishing her first degree at the American University in Washington DC. She also has a masters in public administration at Harvard University, as well as a PhD in economics from the University of Oxford.

Dr Dambisa Moyo
Dr Dambisa Moyo is a Zambian economist who specialises in international economic affairs. Photograph: Helen Jones Photography

Her first book, Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africaargued that foreign aid programmes caused more harm than good to African economies. The reception to the book was mixed, with Bill Gates stating that having read it, he thought that Moyo “didn’t know much about aid and what it was doing in Africa”, adding that “books like that are promoting evil”.

Mercy Muroki

Muroki is a columnist and social researcher, notably a senior researcher at the Centre for Social Justice, a right-leaning thinktank founded by Iain Duncan Smith. She has a BA in politics from Queen Mary, University of London, and is studying for a masters in comparative social policy at the University of Oxford.

She has in the past expressed criticism of the Labour party and leftwing politics, arguing in 2019 in the Times that “the left have, for too long, endorsed a systematic campaign of intimidation on ethnic minority Tories”.

Martyn Oliver

Oliver is the chief executive and accounting officer of Outwood Grange Academy Trust (OGAT), which runs more than 30 schools across England. He began teaching in 1995, and joined OGAT in 2009 before becoming chief executive in 2016.

The academy trust he runs has faced public scrutiny on its disciplinary procedures and its exclusion rates.

OGAT runs nine schools out of 45 which a Guardian investigation found excluded at least 20% of their pupils in an academic year. Schools within the academy trust have also been criticised for using what has been labelled as “barbaric” disciplinary procedures.

Dr Samir Shah CBE

Shah, who works across television and the arts, has been a trustee at the V&A and has been elected a fellow at the Royal Television Society. He is currently the head of Juniper, a radio and television production company, and in 2019 was awarded a CBE for his services to television and heritage.

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Mike Omoniyi is the Founder and Editor In Chief of The Common Sense Network. He oversees and is responsible for the direction of the Network. Mike is an activist, singer/songwriter and keen athlete. With a degree in Politics Philosophy and Economics, MA in Political Science (Democracy and Elections) and an incoming PhD on a study of Cyber-Balkanisation, Mike is passionate about politics and the study of argumentation. He is also the Managing Director of a number of organisations including, Our God Given Mission, The BAM Project and The Apex Group.

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