London: Appalled by the apparent racial bias in British universities and justice systems, Prime Minister David Cameron on Sunday ordered a review of racial discrimination, saying that the country has to "stamp it out".
Universities will be forced to disclose the proportion of ethnic minority applicants that get places, the prime minister said, while warning that police, the courts and the armed forces must also act.
Writing in 'The Sunday Times', he said discrimination should "shame our country and jolt us to action". "I don't care whether it's overt, unconscious or institutional - we have got to stamp it out," he wrote. Cameron said it was "striking" that Oxford University's 2014 intake of more than 2,500 people included only 27 black students.
"I know the reasons are complex, including poor schooling, but I worry that the university I was so proud to attend is not doing enough to attract talent from across our country," he said.
"It's disgraceful that if you're black, it seems you're more likely to be sentenced to custody for a crime than if you're white. "We should investigate why this is and how we can end this possible discrimination," he added.
He has appointed Labour MP David Lammy to oversee a review of the justice system in England and Wales and will look at the "over-representation" of black and minority ethnic defendants.
"With over a quarter of the prison population coming from a BAME (black and minority ethnic) background, the urgency here is clear," said the Labour MP, whose report will be published in spring 2017. Downing Street said 61 per cent of black and minority ethnic defendants found guilty in crown courts were given custodial sentences, compared with 56 per cent of white offenders.