Senior Tory MP blames government for country becoming ‘less tolerant’

PUBLISHED: 20:34 28 February 2020 | UPDATED: 20:34 28 February 2020

Boris Johnson (centre), alongside new Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak (second right), Cabinet Secretary Mark Sedwill (second left), Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey (right) and Health Secretary Matt Hancock (left). Photograph: Matt Dunham/PA Wire.

Boris Johnson (centre), alongside new Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak (second right), Cabinet Secretary Mark Sedwill (second left), Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey (right) and Health Secretary Matt Hancock (left). Photograph: Matt Dunham/PA Wire.

A senior Tory MP has criticised the government for a the country becoming ‘less tolerant’ - and the rise in hate crimes - and said that Boris Johnson should ‘think very carefully about what he is saying’.

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Caroline Nokes, who chairs the Women and Equalities Committee in parliament, said that the country had become 'less tolerant' and said the government had played a role in that.

Asked about the rise in hate crimes in England and Wales by the House magazine, she said: "I think people are much more willing to come forward and report hate crimes of whatever sort. And that's great. And we must give people not only an environment in which they feel confident to be able to do so, but the support that they need once they have, but I don't think you can shy away from those stats.

"Do I think the country has become less tolerant? Yeah, I do. And I think it's incumbent upon government, it's incumbent upon the education system, it's incumbent upon all of us to be more tolerant, and to be more understanding.

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"We're really good as a country at having some national outpourings of grief and upset over high profile things but actually that massive increase in hate crimes towards people from LGBTQ perspectives, from disabled people, from different ethnicities is just horrific."

Asked about the remarks that the prime minister had made in the past, she claimed he had made a number of 'really ill-judged' comments.

She said: "I think that it is incumbent on the prime minister to think very carefully about what he is saying and the impact it could have on certain communities, on different ethnicities, on women."

Nokes also said that Johnson should "think very carefully" about what he is saying.

She continued: "I think his comments have been really ill-judged, and the one that stands out to mind was the comment about letter boxes. And I have always held the view that it's not for any man to tell any woman what she should wear - advice that I would sometimes shout at my own father when he comments on what I'm wearing.

"But I think the prime minister's choice of words when grabbing headlines and being a newspaper columnist were unfortunate."

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