Govt Pressuring Bank of England to Put Ethnic Minority on New £50 Note

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Government ministers in Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip “Remainer Phil” Hammond’s department are pressuring the British central bank to make an ethnic minority the face of the new £50 note.

The Bank of England had committed to putting a scientist on the new banknote, but Robert Jenrick MP, Exchequer Secretary to Her Majesty’s Treasury under Chancellor Hammond (and a fellow Remainer) has urged the 325-year-old institution not to select a white person for the honour as it would send a “damaging message that ethnic minorities are invisible”, the Telegraph reports.

Tory party vice-chairwoman Helen Grant MP had previously complained that the Bank’s decision to feature an outstanding scientist was “problematic” insofar as it would make it harder to find an ethnic minority candidate for the role, given Britain’s non-white population was vanishingly small up to the 1950s and produced few people who would meet the criteria.

Ms Grant called on the Bank of England to “urgently review and take action on the lack of representation of ethnic minorities on British banknotes” in a letter, insisting the institution “has a duty to ensure that wider diversity is represented on our currency… there have only been four women in history on banknotes (including The Queen) and no ethnic minorities.”

“As a public institution, the Bank also has a responsibility to promote and, indeed, advance equality of opportunity,” she added, alleging the absence of ethnic minorities from British banknotes “undoubtedly” sends a “damaging message that ethnic minorities are invisible and have done nothing at all of significance in our history.”

A perennial favourite of the diversity promoters suggested for the new £50 is Mary Seacole, a mixed-race woman who ran a hotel behind British lines during the Crimean War.

Seacole began to be heavily promoted by the educational and political establishment only in modern times — often at the expense of British nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale, who worked in frontline hospitals during the same conflict.

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