Civil rights campaigner rebukes Ann Widdecombe over National Trust row

Channel 5

Salma El-Wardany on the Jeremy Vine show

A civil rights campaigner has delivered a stunning rebuke to Ann Widdecombe's reason for leaving the National Trust.

The former Thatcherite minister decided to cancel her membership because of the "sorts of woke games" she claimed National Trust was playing.

Flummoxed at the body for publicising Winston Churchill's opposition to an independent India, she said: "Churchill done more than any other politician I can think of, in the 20th century, to fight evil and to retain liberty. He did that and was not personally connected to slavery."

"We need to get a sense of perspective," she exclaimed.

Salma El-Wardany, a BBC presenter and civil rights activist, followed up with her own reply to the former Brexit Party MEP.

Appearing on the same show a day later, she said: "It irritates me that everyone keeps using this word 'woke' to dismiss and diminish the fact that people are speaking out against inherently racist systems that have oppressed huge amounts of people across the globe and in our own population for so long.

"Power is changing hands and people don't like it - so then they get absolutely irate about completely ridiculous things like the National Trust being open and honest about its history."

El-Wardany claimed a lot of the properties under the control of the National Trust were lived in by people with links to the slave trade in England.

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She added: "No one's saying Churchill didn't help us win the war. No one's saying Churchill didn't do great things. But he also had a problematic past and had problematic viewpoints."

She continued: "I love the National Trust. They preserve and tell our national history so if you're going to do that then tell the full story. Don't leave any of it out.

"People like Ann Widdecombe going off on it on national television saying I'm cancelling my membership because of this is indicative of the problem we have.

"Her just making this argument is just perpetuating the system that oppresses those people and that's why it's so important to be anti-racist and not just racist."

"Brilliantly put by Salma," Cerian said.

"Superb and eloquently said @writtenbysalma," one user wrote.

"She's right about one thing in particular - anyone who uses the meaningless buzzword 'woke' doesn't have two brain cells to rub together. They think they can just shout 'woke!' at you and the debate is over," said another.

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