Sammy Wilson: ‘When I show bias there is nothing unconscious about it!’

Former finance minister Sammy Wilson has hit out at current post-holder Conor Murphy, after the latter refused to say how much public cash has been spent on “unconscious bias training” for NI civil servants.

Friday, 20th November 2020, 8:00 am
Updated Friday, 20th November 2020, 10:47 am
Sammy Wilson, pictured during his tenure as finance minister

The News Letter exclusively revealed today that about 12,500 civil servants have done an unconscious bias course since 2016, and that for many of the more senior grades the training was mandatory.

Such programmes have sharply divided opinion, with Donald Trump even banning certain forms of the training if it strays into blaming one particular group of people (such as men or white people) for being especially prejudiced.

MPs at Westminster were invited to take such training too in the wake of the Black Lives Matter campaign, triggered by the death of George Floyd as he was detained by a team of two white officers and two ethnic minority officers in Minnesota in May.

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The course reportedly advised MPs to allow themselves to be “mentored” by young, junior-level black people.

Sammy Wilson, DUP MP who held Mr Murphy’s post from 2009 to 2013, said: “That seems very strange to me that such a request is turned down. What has he to hide?

“Is he ashamed that when we are letting businesses go to the wall because he can’t afford to provide support, he is throwing money away to please the PC brigade?

“It’s a total waste of money. They spent thousands on it at Westminster; I refused to take part.

“I am fully aware of my bias - there is nothing unconscious about any bias I display!”

Asked what he means, he said: “Too many – the list starts with the BBC, includes most political opponents, and carries on to the woke brigade - you get the gist.”

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