Interview with Rt Hon David Lammy MP

To mark Stephen Lawrence Day 2021, BCL students Samuel Bailey and Josiah Senu interview David Lammy on institutional racism and the criminal justice system.

David Lammy is the Labour Member of Parliament for Tottenham, England, where he was born and raised. After being elected for the seventh time in December 2019, he was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Justice. As part of this role, Lammy built on his landmark review of the criminal justice system, which explored the treatment of and outcomes for Black and minority ethnic people in British courts and prisons. The review included 35 wide-ranging policy recommendations for the government and criminal justice sectors.

David previously served under the Blair and Brown Labour governments from 2002-2010 as Culture Minister and Higher Education Minister and was appointed to the Privy Council in 2008. Lammy's parents arrived in the UK from Guyana as part of the over half a million people who moved from the Caribbean to Britain in the 1970s, known as the Windrush generation. He is renowned for his role in securing justice for those victims of the Windrush Scandal as well as victims of London's Grenfell Tower Fire and has successfully campaigned for Oxford and Cambridge University to improve fair access for students from disadvantaged and minority backgrounds.

He won both GQ’s and the Political Studies Association’s Politician of the Year in 2018. He is also known for spearheading the fight against Brexit, pushing for more equal access to university and demanding the decolonization of education curriculums and international aid. Lammy explores these issues and more in Tribes, his book on both the benign and malign effects of our very human need to belong. He is an Associate Tenant Barrister at the preeminent Doughty Street Chambers and a Visiting Professor in Practice at London School of Economics, Department of Law. 

In this short video interview, the students ask David for his reflections on what it means to be “truly English”, his views on the recent report released by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities and more.