Sadiq Khan appoints Deputy Mayor to lead on social integration

09 September 2016

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced that one of the country’s leading lawyers has agreed to become his Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement.  Matthew Ryder QC will join the Mayor’s team at City Hall from the beginning of October.

Sadiq has asked Matthew to help ensure Londoners from different faiths, ethnicities, backgrounds and social classes are better integrated in a city that is the most diverse in the country, where the population is at record levels and where more than 100 languages are spoken. Matthew’s task will be to ensure Londoners of every gender, ethnicity, faith, culture, age, sexuality and socio-economic background don’t just live side by side, but live truly interconnected lives.

Matthew Ryder was born in north London, currently lives in Brixton and began his career working for a legal aid firm in Harlesden. He has spent the last 16 years practicing law at Matrix Chambers, during which time he has become one of the UK’s leading barristers in crime, human rights, media and privacy. 

Over the course of his career he has consistently been recommended as a ‘leader in the field’ by legal directories and been one of a very small number of Advocates to be instructed in both the European Court of Human Rights, and the International Criminal Court. His clients have included the parents of Stephen Lawrence. 

A keen sportsman, Matthew created and ran a successful annual charity basketball tournament in Brixton that helped young British players progress onto College scholarships in America and even to professional careers in Europe and the US.  He has written for national newspapers on social policy and cultural issues. And he formerly chaired the Black Cultural Archive.

Sadiq Khan said: “I am thrilled that Matthew has agreed to join my team at City Hall and to help me find ways of improving the social integration of our city. We are extremely lucky to have so many fantastic communities in  London, but there is no point in having that diversity if they do not mix with each other and helping that happen is a huge challenge. We have to strengthen the bonds between Londoners of every background and I believe that Matthew is the very best person for this important role.”

During his election campaign Sadiq Khan pledged to make improving social integration one of his key priorities over the next four years. Although London is one of the most diverse cities in the world a recent report by the Social Integration Commission found that individually Londoners currently spent relatively little time with people from different walks of life.

Matthew’s role will involve ensuring that social mobility is central to the programmes led by the Mayor of London’s office. He will also lead the promotion of active citizenship across the capital, which includes volunteering, mentoring and the integration of new Londoners to the city.

Matthew Ryder said: “I am hugely excited about taking on this role. There is no more important task in a global city like ours than building successful communities where Londoners of every background feel connected with each other. As London becomes ever more diverse ensuring those connections are made is one of our greatest challenges.”

During Matthew’s first months in his new role he intends to make a priority of ensuring that City Hall is using the very best and most reliable possible methods of measuring social integration. Having robust data will enable him to distinguish between the diversity of the city and the actual level of social integration. He is concerned that a city can be hugely diverse but struggle to achieve the successful integration of its communities. He wants to ensure that elderly Londoners feel fully integrated and he is very interested in social mobility and class, particularly as the capital becomes more diverse in terms of income and home ownership.

Notes to editors

  • A report by the Social Integration Commission found that highly diverse areas are not necessarily integrated.  For example, despite socialising more with people of different ethnic groups, Londoners are proportionally less integrated by social grade, ethnicity and age than the rest of Britain.