Diana Johnson – 2022 Speech on the Independent Cultural Review of London Fire Brigade

The speech made by Diana Johnson, the Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, in the House of Commons on 28 November 2022.

This report is a catalogue of shameful and appalling behaviour. In April 2020, the National Fire Chiefs Council committed to publishing an annual report on equality, diversity and inclusion. When the Home Affairs Committee questioned the chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council earlier this year, he told us that he did not know whether the report had been published. When we questioned the chair again earlier this month, the annual report still had not been published. The NFCC does not plan to publish it until April 2023, and it is not sure whether it will publish another. Does the Minister agree that this as yet unfulfilled commitment and the equivocal statement relating to its work to promote equality, diversity and inclusion are concerning? The leadership and commitment from the top of organisations such as the National Fire Chiefs Council is critical to rooting out the sexism and racism evidenced in this review.

Chris Philp

I agree with the Select Committee Chair that this is a vitally important issue. We expect leadership from the entire fire system, including the chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council. She mentioned the question of report publication, and I think she said it intended to publish in April 2023. I am happy to take that away and raise it with the NFCC. I am sure she probably expressed a view in the Committee that it should be published sooner.

Dame Diana Johnson indicated assent.

Chris Philp

The right hon. Lady is nodding, so I am happy to raise that point again and see whether publication can be expedited.