THE BLOG
12/03/2015 14:57 GMT | Updated 12/05/2015 06:59 BST

Nigel Farage Today Revealed Ukip's True Colours

What we've seen today is Nigel Farage showing Ukip's true colours. The cat has been well and truly let out of the bag.

If Nigel Farage has his way, it will be acceptable to discriminate against someone just because of the colour of their skin. Although he's now trying to wriggle out of it, the transcript of what he said is there for all to read. Asked directly whether he thinks we should have laws against race discrimination, he answered "no". So there you have it - it's plain and simple.

In Ukip's brave new world, it would be perfectly legal to treat someone differently just because of their race or skin colour. I find Nigel Farage's comments shocking and breathtakingly ignorant. He clearly has no understanding whatsoever of the difficulties many people from ethnic minority communities still face on a daily basis.

Just this week data revealed that black and Asian Britons are more likely to be unemployed than their white friends and neighbours. How much you earn and how far you progress up the career ladder can still sadly be influenced by the colour of your skin.

Our judiciary, senior business people, civil servants and politicians are still too unrepresentative of wider society. And you are still more likely to be stopped and searched by the police if you are a young black person.

That's not to say we haven't made a lot of progress since my parents first moved to London in the 1960s. They would regularly encounter signs saying 'No Irish, No blacks, No dogs'. Thankfully those days are long gone. We owe a massive debt of gratitude to the vision shown by community activists, trade unions and political leaders over the last four decades.

During the post war years, some of the biggest achievements of governments have been the legislation put in place to protect against discrimination. From the 1965 Race Relations Act and the 1970 Equal Pay Act, to the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and the Race Relations Act 1976, through to the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and more recently the Race Relations Amendment Act 2000 and Equality Act 2010. These laws have led to a transformation in people's attitudes. Legislation changes behaviour, and over the years changes the way we think. In this case, very much for the better.

And as a result we have become a more tolerant and respectful country, open and relaxed about the diversity of people, cultures and faiths on these islands. To rip up these laws would be an extremely dangerous thing to do. It would legalise and legitimise discrimination.

Because while things have come a long way in the last forty years, we have not reached the stage where discrimination has just stopped being an issue. Not only has the problem not gone away, but the fear is we'd go back to how it was over forty years ago. That's not the kind of society I want to live in.

And the question I pose for Nigel Farage is, where does he draw the line? He seems happy to allow discrimination on the basis of someone's skin colour. But what about discriminating against someone because they are a women, or if they are gay or lesbian, or if they have a disability? We deserve to know the truth about Ukip's intentions - because this goes to the very heart of what we stand for as a nation.

Britain is known the world over for openness, fairness and tolerance. And if that doesn't mean tackling discrimination, then what does it mean? I've spent my whole career tackling inequality and battling against injustice. Rooting out discrimination and standing up for people's rights regardless of their gender, race or sexuality. That is why I joined the Labour Party.

And I'm proud that Labour has committed to put in place a race equality strategy at the very heart of Government. We would work across departments to tackle inequality wherever we encounter it. Because we need more action to tackle racial inequality and discrimination, not less.

When it comes to tackling inequality, we choose to look forward, not back. We want to leave our country in a better place than how we found it. Securing a future for our children where discrimination based on race is not just unacceptable, but incomprehensible.

Sadiq Khan is the shadow Lord Chancellor and justice secretary and Labour MP for Tooting