Public Order

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:49 pm on 8th June 2020.

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Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel The Secretary of State for the Home Department 4:49 pm, 8th June 2020

I would make a number of points to the hon. Lady. I have been very clear in my remarks about the level of injustice that is felt across the country, and that has been illustrated in what we have seen over the weekend and the very peaceful protests that have taken place, but I am really saddened that she has effectively said that this Government do not understand racial inequality. [Interruption.] On that basis, it must have been a very different Home Secretary who as a child was frequently called a Paki in the playground; a very different Home Secretary who was racially abused in the streets or even advised to drop her surname and use her husband’s in order to advance her career; and a different Home Secretary who was recently characterised in The Guardian—if I may say so, Madam Deputy Speaker—as a fat cow with a ring through its nose, something that was not only racist but offensive, both culturally and religiously. This is hardly an example of respect, equality, tolerance or fairness, so when it comes to racism, sexism, tolerance or social justice, I will not take lectures from the those other side of the House.

I have already said repeatedly that there is no place for racism in our country or in society and, sadly, too many people are too willing to casually dismiss the contributions of those who do not necessarily conform to preconceived views or ideas about how ethnic minorities should behave or think. This in my view is racist in itself. As I said earlier, both in my statement and in my answers to other colleagues in the House, to combat the real inequalities in society and to end the gross disservice to many communities across our nation who are subject to real and pressing inequalities, we must address these sensitive issues in an accurate and responsible way and by addressing prejudice rather than inciting and inflaming tensions.