Health secretary Matt Hancock has been accused of “whitesplaining” by Baroness Warsi after he said others in the party “take a more balanced approach” on Islamophobia than her.
Warsi, the former Tory party chairman who has led criticism of the Conservative hierarchy’s response to Islamophobia within its ranks, said she was “glad” to have colleagues like Hancock to educate her on the issue.
Hancock said the Tories needed to hold an inquiry on Islamophobia within the party, but claimed others “take a more balanced approach” on the issue than Warsi.
It comes after Boris Johnson said the Conservatives would be conducting a “general investigation into prejudice” – stopping short of calls for an independent inquiry.
Warsi said Johnson’s comments were “disappointing” but “predictable”, adding: “We are only anti-racist to score political points.”
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, Hancock said:
Well look, I like Sayeeda (Warsi), she has a particular view on this. There are others who take a more balanced approach.
Asked if he was saying she was “unbalanced”, Hancock replied:
No, I’m certainly not saying that. I have an enormous amount of respect for Sayeeda but she does take a particular view.
There needs to be an inquiry of course, but of course you should look into all kinds of prejudice.
I think that this is something that any responsible party always needs to be on the lookout for.
Warsi tweeted in response: “Oh @MattHancock. Thank you for “whitesplaining” this to me. I’m so glad I have colleagues like you who can educate me even after my 30 years of experience of work in Race relations ‘Thousand apologies sir’.”
In an interview with BBC Radio Nottinghamshire on 8 November, Johnson said:
Saj and I are totally in agreement with this, we are doing a general investigation into prejudice of all kinds.
Asked about comments he made in the past about Muslim women wearing the Niqab looking like letterboxes, he added:
I’m very proud of my own Muslim heritage, my great-grandfather could recite the Koran off by heart … it’s absolutely true.
We need your help ...
The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.
Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.
We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.
Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?