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A ‘smouldering’ tinderbox – “We’re heading for an immigration disaster”

Britain risks ‘sleepwalking into catastrophe’ and a wave of racial unrest unless it addresses concerns over immigration, the former head of the equalities watchdog has warned.

In a devastating analysis, Trevor Phillips insisted the failure to allay fears about the rapidly changing face of the UK is fuelling growing community tensions.

He called anti-immigrant sentiment a ‘smouldering’ tinderbox that could ignite at any time, stoked by people who had felt unable to speak out for fear of being branded ‘white racists’.

The former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission accused senior figures of a ‘deafening silence’ when confronted with issues linked to race, ethnicity and culture.

Mr Phillips, 62, said the ‘dangerously misguided’ liberal elite were unwilling to acknowledge that some communities resist integration and a minority are ‘actively opposed’ to British values and behaviour.

His analysis came two months after he expressed concern at the chasm between British Muslims and their compatriots on issues such as marriage, segregation, freedom of speech and violence in defence of religion.

Mr Phillips said: ‘Britain is changing at an extraordinary pace. In a country used to stability and gradual change, frictions generated by our increasing diversity threaten tranquillity.’

His 61-page essay warns that these tensions ‘threaten to erupt at any time.’