Tories have ignored racial inequality "for a long time" says Maajid Nawaz

20 June 2020, 16:15 | Updated: 20 June 2020, 16:22

By Seán Hickey

Maajid Nawaz challenged the Prime Minister by suggesting that it has never been in his party's interest to address racial inequality.

Boris Johnson called on the UK to focus on the "substance of the issue" surrounding racial inequalities and not to focus on "statues or songs" amid an investigation into whether singing Swing Low, Sweet Chariot is racist.

Maajid took the argument back to the initial debate around the toppling of the Edward Colston statue. "Prime Minister I agree with you, it is a distraction and it's not really productive for change and it backfires on people, me included who want change.

"But tell me then, let's focus on the issues...why was it that even the request to put a plaque there...they couldn't have put a plaque up there." Maajid wondered, imagining that "that would have been a gesture to quell some of the frustration that happened next."

He came up with the theory that it was not Conservative Party policy to address these issues up until now. He then wondered "if that's the case, question yourselves, what is going on?"

Maajid brought Labour MP David Lammy into the equation. Mr Lammy has been outspoken on racial inequality and was even invited by a Conservative government to do a review on race equality in Britain." Maajid pointed out that it was a while ago that this happened and queried "what happened to it?"

"Nothing has been implemented" he said. This was another factor for Maajid that hinted that the Conservatives had not taken the issues of race inequalities in the UK seriously up until now, but are trying to disguise the fact.

"The issues are there still, and yes it's right we need to focus on the substance.

"But you've got to understand the frustration of people when those issues, the substance you're now telling us to focus on were ignored by you for a long time."