|Born||Mark Trevor Phillips|
31 December 1953
Islington, London, England
|Alma mater||Imperial College London|
|Member of||British-American Project, Ditchley/Governors, Ditchley/UK, Index on Censorship|
|Interests|| • Open Britain|
Trevor Phillips (born 31 December 1953) is a British writer, broadcaster and former politician who, in March 2015, was appointed as the President of the Partnership Council of the John Lewis Partnership for a three-year term. His was the first external appointment since 1928.
Phillips is Deputy Chairman of the Board of the National Equality Standard, and other business appointments include chairman of Green Park Diversity Analytics, director of WebberPhillips, a data analytics provider; and director of Pepper Productions, an independent television production company. He is a member of the board of the Barbican Arts Centre and the Council of Aldeburgh Music; and a trustee of the Social Mobility Foundation, among other charities.
Phillips became head of the Commission for Racial Equality in 2003, and on its abolition in 2006 was appointed full-time chairman of its successor, the EHRC (initially called the Commission for Equality and Human Rights), which had a broader remit of combating discrimination and promoting equality across other grounds (age, disability, gender, race, religion and belief, sexual orientation and gender reassignment). The EHRC also had the role of promoting and defending human rights, and secured recognition as the national human rights institution for England and Wales (alongside separate commissions in Northern Ireland and Scotland). Phillips' tenure as EHRC chairman (which at his request became a part-time position in 2009) has at times been controversial.
Harassing young women
Trevor Phillips, former chairman of the EHRC, admitted he was “complicit” in workplace harassment of young women during his time as a television executive.
Phillips, who was head of current affairs for London Weekend Television (LWT) and has also made programmes for the BBC and Channel 4, said he had downplayed the predatory behaviour of male colleagues:
- “After Harvey Weinstein, this has been an issue for everyone in the entertainment industry,” he told a panel discussing diversity at the Royal Television Society conference in London. “When I was active in television, we would get a new young person, usually a young woman, in the office and say the usual, ‘There’s the coffee machine, there’s the photocopier, there’s your desk’, all that sort of stuff. But then we’d say, ‘Hold on, everybody here is very nice, but try not to get into a lift with Pete. He’s a brilliant guy, he pays all our mortgages, but I think he’s a little bit weird’. That was us dealing with harassment. The truth is, we were complicit. We’d like to say it has changed, but it hasn’t.”
In November 2019, Trevor Phillips was one of 24 signatories of a letter to The Guardian in which they expressed concerns about Jeremy Corbyn's perceived antisemitism and said they would refuse to vote Labour in the UK/2019 General Election on 12 December.
On 9 March 2020, the BBC reported that Trevor Phillips had been suspended by the Labour Party for alleged Islamophobia. Miqdaad Versi, media spokesperson for the Muslim Council of Britain, tweeted:
- On @BBCr4today at 8:30am, I discussed Trevor Phillips' ongoing unfounded claims about Muslims that not only align with far-right Islamophobes but are used by far-right Islamophobes to justify their divisive hatefulness and targeting of Muslims.
- "John Lewis Partnership - Appointment of Partnership Council President"
- Vikram Dodd, "Ministers pick Phillips to lead new human rights and equalities body", The Guardian, 4 September 2006.
- "Trevor Phillips says he was complicit in sexual harassment of young women in television industry"
- "Concerns about antisemitism mean we cannot vote Labour"
- "Trevor Phillips suspended from Labour over Islamophobia allegations"
- "Tweet by Miqdaad Versi"