Matt Hancock accused of 'whitesplaining' Islamophobia by Baroness Warsi

PUBLISHED: 12:03 09 November 2019 | UPDATED: 15:49 09 November 2019

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi has accused the health secretary of 'whitesplaining' Islamophobia. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive/PA Images

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi has accused the health secretary of 'whitesplaining' Islamophobia. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive/PA Images

PA Archive/PA Images

Baroness Warsi has struck out at a Tory minister after he said others in his party "take a more balanced approach" on Islamophobia than she does.

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Health secretary Matt Hancock was asked about his party's recent decision not to conduct an independent enquiry specifically into Islamophobia within their ranks, but into general "prejudice".

He said the party needed to hold an inquiry, but claimed others "take a more balanced approach" on the issue than Lady Warsi.

Lady Warsi who has been a vocal commentator on her party's response to the issue, tweeted sarcastically that she was "glad" to have colleagues like the health secretary to educate her on the issue, and that he was "whitesplaining".

She said that the prime minister's decision was "entirely 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", he replied: "No, I'm certainly not saying that. I have an enormous amount of respect for Sayeeda but she does take a particular view."

He added: "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."

Lady 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 Friday, Boris Johnson said: "Saj [Sajid Javid] and I are totally in agreement with this, we are doing a general investigation into prejudice of all kinds."

During the Conservative leadership race, Sajid Javid had secured the agreement of all candidates that the party would conduct and independent inquiry specifically into Islamophobia - a promise on which the prime minister has now reneged.

Asked about comments he made in the past about Muslim women wearing the niqab looking like "letterboxes", Johnson added: "I'm very proud of my own Muslim heritage, my great-grandfather could recite the Koran off by heart ... it's absolutely true.

"When I was running London, and indeed in all my time as a politician, I have campaigned for equalities, for inclusiveness, of all kinds."

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