|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.
On 6 July 2021, The Guardian reported that Trevor Phillips' suspension had been surreptitiously lifted in June without the matter going to a National Executive Committee disciplinary panel. His readmission to the party comes amid suggestions that the party is facing significant discontent among Muslim voters. Last week Labour held Batley and Spen with a razor-thin majority after the divisive candidate and pro-Palestine campaigner George Galloway won more than 8,000 votes.
Zarah Sultana, the Labour MP for Coventry South, said many of Phillips’ comments “should be unequivocally condemned”. She added: “Before readmittance, the party must at the very least require a full retraction and apology. Anything less makes a mockery of the idea that the party takes Islamophobia seriously and signals contempt for our Muslim supporters.”
In response to the readmittance of Phillips, a Labour Muslim Network (LMN) spokesperson said:
"We are once again in a position where we must express the deep disappointment and frustration of Muslim members and supporters across the UK. "Trevor Phillips’ case is one of the most high-profile recent examples of Islamophobia within the Labour Party and quietly readmitting him behind closed doors, without apology or acknowledgment, will only cause further anxiety and hurt among 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"
- "Labour lifts Trevor Phillips’ suspension for alleged Islamophobia"
- "Labour reinstates Phillips – before NEC even discusses Islamophobia charge and cutting out sole Muslim staffer who was investigating"