The author of the race report that claimed whites have a shorter life expectancy has been criticized.

  • Tony Sewell chairs the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities
  • According to his government report, whites have lower life expectancies
  • The ONS vindicated his and his team’s claims of ‘abuse’.

He was the author of a report on government race that claimed whites have lower life expectancy.

Tony Sewell, chairman of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, said he and his team faced ‘abuse’ following the publication of the report in March.

It found that pre-pandemic health outcomes among ethnic minority groups were better than among white people – a finding that was later supported by the Office for National Statistics.

While Mr Sewell’s criticisms were not uncommon, the British Medical Journal has released an analysis of data from official sources that supports his claims. It concedes that between 2012 and 2019, ‘the White ethnic group had lower life expectancy and higher overall mortality than all ethnic minority groups except the Mixed group’.

Dr Tony Sewell defended his controversial racism report in the face of fierce criticism and refused to be cowed by personal attacks

Tony Sewell, despite intense criticism, stood firm behind his controversial racist report and didn’t succumb to insults

The Race Commission, launched by Boris Johnson following Black Lives Matter protests, hailed the UK a 'beacon to the rest of Europe and the world'

Boris Johnson, who launched the Race Commission following Black Lives Matter protests in London, called the UK a “beacon for Europe and the whole world”.

It continues: ‘For individual causes of death, the picture was more varied, with ethnic minority groups generally having lower mortality than the White group for half of the 30 leading causes of death (responsible for about 80 per cent of all deaths).’ The BMJ analysis pointed to ‘the healthy migrant effect’ and lower rates of tobacco and alcohol use as possible explanations.

However, it also notes that the overall ‘mortality advantage’ of some ethnic groups, namely Bangladeshi, Pakistani and black Caribbean males, had been reversed due to their higher risk of death from Covid.

This was most likely due to the greater likelihood of people living in urban densely populated areas and in multi-generational families, as well as working in public roles like health care and social services.

The Daily Telegraph was told by Mr Sewell that his group knew the ONS would back up their findings regarding the death of ethnic groups when they published the report.

‘Essentially what happened was people didn’t look at the data,’ he said. ‘What they were driven by was a bit of hysteria around the Covid results.

‘We are not denying racism is a factor, but we are looking at race disparities and some people didn’t realise white people could fare worse.

‘Making that statement seemed to worry people. People wanted us to say something along the lines that “black people’s health outcomes were worse than whites”, but that wasn’t true.’ The wider report into racism in Britain caused outrage after finding no evidence of institutional racism.

The UK was recommended as an example to other countries with white majority.

United Nations experts said the report could ‘fuel racism’.

An article in the BMJ accused the Government-appointed commission of ‘cherrypicking’ the evidence. Mr Sewell said: ‘I feel very vindicated by this and if people had bothered to read our report rather than listening to the news, they would have seen we were telling the truth.’

Based on data from 50 million people, an ONS study was used to create the BMJ’s latest analysis. The BMJ authors – including those from the University of Cambridge and Imperial College London – describe the ‘paradox’ of better mortality outcomes among some ethnic groups, despite higher levels of deprivation.