Baroness Doreen Lawrence is to lead a review into the impact of coronavirus on black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities.

The campaigner and mother of Stephen Lawrence will lead the new probe after being appointed by Sir Keir Starmer as a race relations adviser for the Labour Party.

Stephen Lawrence, a teenager from Plumstead, was stabbed to death in a racially aggravated attack on April 22, 1993.

His death in Eltham marked a watershed moment in the UK’s cultural history, which, as a result of relentless campaigning by Stephen's parents, resulted in widespread change within the UK police force.

Baroness Lawrence has since become “one of the country’s foremost campaigners for equality and justice”.

In the new review, she will now investigate why the Covid-19 pandemic seems to have disproportionately affected people from BAME backgrounds.

Data from the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre suggest that 34.5% of critically ill patients have been from the BAME community, despite just 10.8% of the population being black or Asian.

A significant proportion of the more than 80 NHS workers who have died with coronavirus are from BAME backgrounds.

Labour peer Baroness Lawrence said: "I am proud to take up this role at a critical moment for our country. The coronavirus pandemic has brought society together, but it has also exposed the gulf in living standards that still blights our communities.

"Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities have long been disadvantaged by the social and economic injustice which still exists in our country. There is a clear and tragic pattern emerging of the pandemic's impact on those communities which must be better understood."

Her work began with discussion with Labour colleagues and experts including the British Medical Association's chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul on Friday morning.

Muslim Council of Britain general secretary Harun Khan, the Sikh Network's Jas Khatkar and Operation Black Vote founder Lord Woolley also took part.

Sir Keir said: "It is extremely concerning to see the disproportionate toll coronavirus is taking on our Bame communities. We cannot afford to treat this as an issue to investigate once the crisis is over. We must address it now."

The NHS and Public Health England are also undertaking a review into the concerns.