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(vi)   section 27,

(vii)   section 29, or

(viii)   section 31,

(b)   the Commission's duty under section 10 insofar as it relates to matters of race and may be fulfilled by the exercise of those powers, and

(c)   those powers insofar as they are or may be exercised for the purpose of matters concerning race.

(2)   Delegation under this paragraph shall not prevent the exercise by the Commission of a power, or the fulfilment by the Commission of a duty, by action which relates to any one or more than one of the causes of discrimination or prejudice referred to in section 10.

(3)   Before exercising a power to which paragraph 21(2) or 22(3) applies the Race Committee shall consult the Scotland Committee.

(4)   Before exercising a power to which paragraph 29(2) or 30(3) applies the Race Committee shall consult the Wales Committee.

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69      Before exercising a power or fulfilling a duty in relation to matters of race, the Commission shall consult the Race Committee.

70      The Race Committee shall advise the Commission about the exercise of the Commission's functions insofar as they relate to matters of race.

Resources 71      In allocating its resources the Commission shall ensure that the Race Committee receives a share sufficient to enable it to exercise its functions.

Report 72   (1)   The Race Committee shall for each financial year of the Commission submit to the Commission a report on the Committee's activities in that year.

(2)   The Commission shall incorporate each report of the Race Committee under sub-paragraph (1) into the relevant annual report of the Commission.

Five Year Review 73      The Commission shall arrange for a review of the activities of the Race Committee to be conducted as soon as is reasonably practicable after the end of the period of five years beginning with the date of the commencement for all purposes of sections 8 and 10 insofar as they relate to matters of race.

74      The following may not participate in the review (although those conducting the review may seek views from any of the following)—

(a)   a Commissioner or former Commissioner,

(b)   staff or former staff of the Commission,

(c)   a person who is or has been an Investigating Commissioner, and

(d)   a person who is or has been a member of a committee established by the Commission.

75      The Commission shall ensure—

(a)   that those conducting the review consult persons whom they think likely to have an interest,

(b)   that those conducting the review submit a report to the Commission, and

(c)   that the report is published.

76      The Race Committee may not be dissolved under paragraph 14(c).

Definition 77      In this Schedule "race" includes colour, nationality, ethnic origin and national origin.'.

Keith Vaz (Leicester, East) (Lab): Thank you for calling me so early in the debate, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I wish to support amendments Nos. 1 to 8 and 9. I also speak in support of the amendments tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Kingswood (Roger Berry) and I   have great sympathy with the amendments tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington (John McDonnell), although I am sure that they will have the opportunity to contribute to the debate themselves.

I have just come from the Members' Dining Room, where I was attending the bi-annual Eid celebrations. It is an achievement of those who were responsible for timetabling that we should have a debate on race and equality at the same time as most of the leading members of the Muslim community have gathered, along with many other right hon. and hon. Members, in another part of the Palace of Westminster. I know that they also wish to take part in this debate, but they are meeting constituents and listening to the speeches—including by the President of the Liberal Democrats and the
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Chancellor of the Exchequer. I know that several of my colleagues wish to take part in this debate and I hope that we will see even greater attendance later.

Race and equality are an essential part of the Government's agenda. In the 19 years that I and my hon. Friend the Member for Hackney, North and Stoke Newington (Ms Abbott) have been Members of Parliament, we have seen several debates on race, immigration and the general good relations that exist in our country. When Governments seek to foster those good relations and, indeed, enhance them, they are under a duty to ensure that the institutions and organisations that they create have that purpose. The Commission for Racial Equality has been in existence for all the years that I have been living in the United Kingdom, and I came here when I was nine years of age. The then Government had just abolished, or were just about to abolish, the old Race Relations Board, and its successor was the CRE. So for all the time that I can remember, the black and Asian community has had an institution that was supposed to support and protect it and to speak up for its needs and concerns. In later legislation, even more powers were given to the CRE than the old Race Relations Board had had. Therefore, it is sad that the Government propose to abolish the CRE through this Bill and replace it with an organisation that brings together several other strands of the equality agenda. I want to make it absolutely clear that I support those strands—for want of a better word—having appropriate representation, with a body and organisation that speaks on their behalf, working in like-minded fashion with other organisations to ensure that equality is kept firmly at the top of the Government's political agenda.

5.15 pm

I am disappointed that between the First Reading of the Bill in the last Parliament and the Second Reading and Report of the Bill in this Parliament more time has not been spent consulting the black and Asian community. That is a lost opportunity. The Minister will know that at the weekend, under the banner of the former chair of the CRE, Lord Ouseley, several individuals and organisations signed an open letter to her protesting against proposals to abolish the CRE; they accept that a new body may be necessary but the powers that it will be given do not reflect the aspirations and needs of the black and Asian community. They say that in any new body there should be a proper opportunity for the black and Asian community to be represented, hence the importance of the establishment of a race committee.

Ms Diane Abbott (Hackney, North and Stoke Newington) (Lab): Two years ago, my hon. Friend and I, and a group of black and Asian Members of this and   the other place, went to see the then Secretary of State for the Department of Trade and Industry and raised with her, in private, the serious concerns of the black community that the new commission would not deal adequately with matters of race. Does he agree that it is regrettable that the issues raised then by Members of both Houses were not taken seriously?
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