Claims that ethnicity was not a factor in the Rochdale sexual grooming case are "fatuous", the head of the UK's equalities watchdog has said.

Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Equality & Human Rights Commission, said the fact that the men convicted were Asian and their victims white could not be ignored.

He expressed concern that the men came from closed communities which may have turned a blind eye to what was happening – either out of fear, or because the girls concerned were from a different community.

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