Higher and further education minister Tessa Blackstone this week appeared before an industrial tribunal to answer a former employee's claims of racism.
Baroness Blackstone, master of London University's Birkbeck College for six years until joining the Labour government in 1997, gave evidence on Wednesday in a case brought by Chandra Sharma, a Birkbeck maths professor who retired last month after 36 years with the college. He said that in last year's pay round white colleagues received more than he did.
He also said that the baroness had in 1991 expressed a "prejudicial opinion" about the quality of Indian degrees.
Baroness Blackstone said that she was "astonished and appalled" by the allegations. The case continued as The THES went to press.