MPs vote for Phillips inquiry

By staff

MPs voteed to launch an investigation into Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), today.

The debate came after the joint human rights committee revealed that Mr Phillips had spoken to three members before a report was published on him.

“We met on February 9th to discuss a draft report on the Equality and Human Rights Commission,” a statement released earlier in the month read.

“It emerged at the start of the meeting that Trevor Phillips, the chair of the EHRC, had recently spoken to at least three members of the committee about the committee’s consideration of the draft report and the publication of written evidence with the report.

“In our view these discussions could constitute a contempt of both Houses in that they may be an attempt to influence the views of certain members of the committee shortly before it considered a draft report directly relevant to Mr Phillips in his role as chair of the EHRC,” it went on.

“We recommend that the matter should be subject to investigation by the privileges committees of both Houses.”

The EHRC responded later in the day with the following statement: “Neither Mr Phillips nor the commission is aware of any reason why any of his actions might amount to contempt of the Houses of Parliament.

“Should the parliamentary authorities decide to take this matter further, both Mr Phillips and the commission would be happy to cooperate fully.”

The committee, chaired by Andrew Dismore, had been investigating the work of the watchdog after the resignation of several commissioners and the chief executive.