The United Kingdom (UK0 government is facing criticism after it failed to award the former Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, a life peerage in the House of Lords, apparently because he is a Black man.
Dr Sentamu was the Church of England’s first black Archbishop. He retired from the position on 7 June after 15 years in the role.
He was one of 26 Lords Spiritual in the House of Lords but unlike his predecessor, Lord Hope, and the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Williams, he was not given a life peerage upon his retirement.
Life peerage would have afforded him to continue sitting in the House of Lords in a personal capacity.
Lord Woolley, founder of Operation Black Vote, told The Times said the government’s racial discriminative behaviour is scandalous. He said: “John Sentamu is a hero and a role model not just to black Britain but to Great Britain”.
He further added that he hoped not giving Dr. Sentamu life peerage is an oversight the government may rapidly correct, “given the deluge of peerages to friends and family, of which not one was black”.
Mr Woolley said elevating a good man who has served the nation is a good thing to do, especially in Black History Month.
The Bishop of Burnley, Philip North, accused the Government of institutional racism over the snub.
He claimed to outraged beyond words that John Sentamu has been denied a peerage.
He disclosed that Dr. Sentamu’s contributions to public life has been beyond outstanding”. Bishop north tweeted thus: Institutional racism? It just sounds like racism”.
Jo Maugham QC, director of the Good Law Project, was one of many others criticising the decision on social media: “Johnson gave a peerage to Brexit Party MEP Claire Fox, who refused to condemn the IRA’s planting of the Warrington bomb. And to his own brother. But he snubbed Britain’s first black Archbishop. I guess we all know what he thinks about black men and women”.
The government argued that the decision not to offer Sentamu a peerage was down to the number of peers in the Lords and the statement only enraged the people more.
Lib Dem peer Dick Newby said: “For Downing Street to claim that John Sentamu didn’t get a Peerage because the Lords was too large is an insult and a disgrace. They are stuffing the place with people who don’t deserve to stand in Sentamu’s shadow”.
Former Brexit Secretary David Davis said: “Number 10 (the government) has made a mistake in not ennobling John Sentamu. He was a great Archbishop. It cannot claim it needs to limit the size of the Lords whilst elevating Boris’ brother. It should be put right immediately”.
The Government is reported to have backed down in the face of pressure saying Sentamu was to be given a peerage “imminently”.