Covid-19: Ethnic Minority Disparities

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:30 pm on 1st March 2021.

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Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch The Exchequer Secretary, Minister for Equalities 4:30 pm, 1st March 2021

I thank my hon. Friend for the question, and for the opportunity to reiterate what I said to Marsha De Cordova. Of course racism exists; no one in this Government has ever denied the existence of racism. In fact, I have spoken about my personal experience, as did the Home Secretary at this very Dispatch Box—and 30 Labour MPs, including the hon. Lady, dismissed the Home Secretary’s experiences as gaslighting. However, we will not assume that every issue experienced by ethnic minorities is caused by racism without looking at the evidence. We develop solutions based on where the evidence leads, unlike Labour, whose report in October recommended that we decolonise the curriculum to address covid-19.

There is a legitimate debate to be had on how we tackle racism and address ethnic disparities, but although our means of achieving these goals may differ, that should in no way undermine our shared commitment to building a fairer and more cohesive society. Let me be clear to those who have either misunderstood or deliberately choose to misrepresent what the Government have said: this Government condemn racism, an evil which has no place in a civilised society.