EU epitomises white privilege, Tory minister claims

16 November 2021, 20:17

Lord Kamall said the EU 'is very much a project of white privilege'.
Lord Kamall said the EU 'is very much a project of white privilege'. Picture: Alamy

By James Morris

The EU is "very much a project of white privilege", a minister has told Parliament.

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Tory frontbencher and peer Lord Kamall, a former MEP, made the remark in the House of Lords as he pushed the NHS to help tackle different Covid self-isolation rules being applied to overseas students – which he said is due to an inability to validate vaccination data – compared to their British counterparts.

The government has previously contested the use of the term "white privilege".

Lord Kamall, the minister for technology, innovation and life sciences, was responding to Labour peer Baroness Royall, who accused the government of "xenophobia" for still not having sorted a "rather small" problem which "clearly disadvantages international students".

He said: "As someone whose family comes from outside the EU, who has taught in universities and who recognises the great asset that there is and the great advantages that there are in being open to the world, and global Britain, I share her frustration.

"Yes, we have left the EU, which is very much a project of white privilege, and moved to a more global outlook. It is really important that we now focus on the world generally."

Lord Kamall's fellow ministers have regularly spoken out against the use of the term, which was defined by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities as: "The idea that there is societal privilege that benefits white people over other ethnic groups in some societies, particularly if they are otherwise under the same social, political, or economic circumstances."

Last month, the Department for Education said schools should not teach contested views about "white privilege" as fact, after a report branded such terms "divisive" and said they may cause white working-class pupils to be "neglected".

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NAHT, the school leaders' union, said it was "unhelpful" and that schools should be trusted to make their own decisions.

In June, equalities minister Kemi Badenoch also said in a newspaper column that the term “reinforces the notion that everyone and everything around ethnic minorities is racist”.