David Cameron's suggestion that universities are racist has backfired

David Cameron's suggestion that universities are racist has backfired

David Cameron has been accused of "rank hypocrisy" as new figures reveal that the Civil Service he presides over has an even worse record on diversity than the universities he attacked for not admitting enough black students.

Last month universities denied they were guilty of "institutional racism" after the Prime Minister accused them, the armed forces and British businesses of "ingrained, institutional and insidious" attitudes that are holding back black people and "should shame our nation."

There are no black generals in our Armed Forces and just 4 per cent of chief executives in the FTSE 100 are from ethnic minorities.

Are these just the symptoms of class divisions or a lack of equal opportunity? Or is it something worse – something more ingrained, institutional and insidious?

Mr Cameron, who is Minister for the Civil Service, singled out his old university, Oxford. He also criticised universities for not taking more students from poor families.

Could Mr Cameron's words come back to haunt him?

A review for the Government has now found that the Civil Service's fast-stream recruitment scheme has "a less diverse intake" than Oxford when the social and economic background of students is considered.

And Labour has seized on figures published quietly on a government website showing that only 1.8 per cent of black and mixed-race people who applied were accepted by Whitehall's fast-track recruitment programme - compared to 4.8 per cent of white applicants.

Only 21 of the jobs filled in 2014 went to black and mixed-race groups, compared to 766 white recruits, who took 86 per cent of the places.

The overall success rate for all ethnic minority groups was 3.3 per cent, with 127 recruits taken on (14 per cent of the total).

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