Labour MP Preet Kaur Gill, who is also chair of the all-party parliamentary group for British Sikhs, said on Wednesday that if necessary the UK National Authority will be taken to court on the issue of having a separate Sikh ethnic identifier in the 2021 census.
Gill and MPs Eddie Hughes and Pat McFadden met John Pullinger, chief executive of the UK Statistics Authority, this week and presented the response of 112 gurdwaras from across the country, favouring the separate Sikh ethnic box in the next census to be conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Edgbaston MP Gill said: “The National Statistician must recommend a Sikh ethnic tick box be included in the Census White Paper 2018 later this year or he will have serious explaining to do to MPs, ministers and the Sikh community.
“The National Statistician’s decision could result in the UK Statistics Authority and the ONS standing accused of racial discrimination against the Sikh community and facing embarrassing and expensive legal action.”
“The all-party parliamentary group (APPG) has already been contacted by the gurdwaras to discuss the establishment of a legal fund of £0.5 million if the UK Statistics Authority and ONS need to be taken to the courts,” Gill added.
Over 140 British MPs have supported the demand.
ONS had confirmed to Hindustan Times on Monday that no decision on having separate Sikh identifier for the next census had been made. Over 80,000 Sikhs reportedly used ‘Other’ in the 2011 census to identify themselves, and mentioned ‘Sikh’ on the forms.
An ONS spokesperson said: “No decision has been taken on the content of the 2021 Census. Our recommendations for the 2021 Census will be included in a government White Paper later this year”.
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