United Kingdom

Minister Kemi Badenoch clashes with Labour MPs over controversial Government racism report

The Equalities Minister accused Labour MPs of trying to undermine the authors of a controversial racism report today, as she revealed they had been subjected to death threats and racial slurs. 

Kemi Badenoch said 'appalling abuse' had been meted out to members of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities (Cred) after it's report on the UK's race relations. 

Cred, which was set up by the Prime Minister in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests last summer, concluded that though Britain is not yet a 'post-racial society', its success should be a model for white-majority countries. 

Ms Badenoch clashed with senior Labour MPs in a fiery Commons clash this afternoon as she said the Government rejected 'bad faith attempts to undermine the credibility of this report'.

'The Government even more firmly condemns the deeply personal and racialised attacks against the commissioners which have included death threats, and in fact one member from the opposition benches presented commissioners as members of the Ku Klux Klan,' she added, the latter a reference to criticism by Labour's Clive Lewis.

'An example of the very online racial hatred and abuse on which the report itself recommended more action be taken by Government.'

She went on: 'It is wrong to accuse those who argue for a different approach as being racism deniers or race traitors. It is even more irresponsible - dangerously so - to call ethnic minority people racial slurs like Uncle Toms, coconuts, house slaves or house n****** for daring to think differently.' 

Kemi Badenoch said 'appalling abuse' had been meted out to members of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities (Cred), as she revealed that the report authors have received death threats.

Shadow equalities minister Marsha de Cordova slated the report, saying: 'Its cherry-picking of data is misleading and incoherent'

Labour's Dawn Butler called the report 'gaslighting on a national scale'.

Its chairman Dr Sewell, who was born in Brixton to Jamaican parents of the Windrush generation and founded the Generating Genius charity, said the UK had progressed into a 'successful multi-ethnic and multicultural community' and was a 'beacon to the rest of Europe and the world'.

However, he was last week forced to insist that he was not denying the existence of racism in the country amid a fierce backlash from Left-wing activists and MPs including Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

Critics called the study a 'whitewash' after it found no conclusive evidence of institutional racism. Instead, the report said factors such as geography, family influence, socio-economic background, culture and religion were found to have more impact on life chances than racism. 

Clarifying the report's findings, Ms Badenoch said it did not deny the existence of institutional racism but did not find conclusive evidence of it in the areas it examined.

She said the Prime Minister has established a new, inter-ministerial group to review the report's 24 recommendations, which will be chaired by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

The Government is working to produce a response by the summer.

But shadow equalities minister Marsha de Cordova said the report has not been discredited by bad faith actors, but by experts.

She said: 'Its cherry-picking of data is misleading and incoherent, its conclusions are ideologically motivated and divisive, it is absolutely clear to all of us on this side of the House and across civil society that this report has no credibility.'

And Labour's Dawn Butler called the report 'gaslighting on a national scale'.

The former shadow women and equalities minister told the Commons: 'The New Age of Empire page 95 tells us exactly what is happening. This is Why I Resist by Dr Shola, page 103, explains about racial gatekeepers that Musa Okwonga from Byline Times talks about. 

'And my question to the minister is, the Government briefed a clear message well in advance of this report landing. Why did the Government do that?'

Responding, Kemi Badenoch said: 'I think it is disgusting that a member of this House will stand up and accuse people of being racial gatekeepers.'

She added that this is 'the same nonsense we have heard time and time again' which includes 'calling people house negros and house slaves and calling them racial gatekeepers'. 

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