Muslim peer Baroness Warsi accuses Matt Hancock of ‘Whitesplaining’ Islamophobia

9 November 2019, 11:40

Baroness Warsi accused Matt Hancock of 'whitesplaining' Islamophobia to her
Baroness Warsi accused Matt Hancock of 'whitesplaining' Islamophobia to her. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has been accused of "whitesplaining" by Baroness Warsi after he indicated that other people in the Conservative party "take a more balanced approach" on Islamophobia than her.

Lady Warsi, the former Tory party chairman who has led criticism of the Conservative hierarchy's response to Islamophobia within its ranks, said she was "glad" to have colleagues like Mr Hancock to educate her on the issue.

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

It comes after the Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the Conservatives would be conducting a "general investigation into prejudice" - stopping short of calls for an independent inquiry.

Lady Warsi said Mr Johnson's comments were "disappointing" but "predictable", adding: "We are only anti-racist to score political points."

Mr 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", Mr Hancock 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 and I are totally in agreement with this, we are doing a general investigation into prejudice of all kinds."

Asked about comments he made in the past about Muslim women wearing the Niqab looking like letterboxes, he 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."