Trevor Phillips facing contempt allegations

Having spent most of 2009 in the media spotlight, controversial chair of the Equality Human Rights Commission (EHRC) Trevor Phillips is facing the prospect of an investigation by parliament. The Joint Human Rights Committee who were tasked with investigating the EHRC following a spate of resignations last summer, allege that the equalities chief had spoken to three of its members about the Committees draft report and the publication of written evidence.

It's thought that Mr Phillips may have attempted to influence the Committee before they were due to report on incidents which involved him directly. Committee chairman Andrew Dismore wants to put the matter before MP's to grant a further investigation into Mr Phillips alleged interventions. The Committee believe such inappropriate discussions could constitute "A contempt of both houses".
If that wasn't enough to give the Equalities chief a headache, it has emerged that the EHRC had faced15 Employment tribunals in the past two years .The information was released by the Equalities Minister Maria Eagles following the questions tabled by the conservatives earlier last week. While many of the claims had failed it emerged two were settled out of court. This is clearly embarrassing revelations for Sir Trevor adding further question marks to his ability to manage the equalities Quango. Surely the compliance with equality laws of the EHRC should be unblemished?

Upon re-appointment Mr Phillips had stated that "arguments" and "passions" were part of the EHRC's role as it was dealing with difficult issues. However it’s hard to see how he will be able to justify tampering with an investigation. If the Committee have anything concrete the pressure on Trevor Phillips to resign will be exorbitant.


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