Priti Patel says Labour MPs are being ‘racist’ towards her by accusing her of ‘gaslighting’ other minorities
PRITI Patel has accused a group of Labour MPs of being “racist” towards her – after they said she was gaslighting minorities by speaking up about her own experiences.
The Home Secretary said it was “very disappointing” that they appeared to have a problem with her being a BAME woman who is a Conservative.
And they had decided she did not fit into the stereotype of idea of what she should be, Ms Patel said.
Earlier this month more than 30 Labour MPs from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds accused her of trying to silence debate by “using” her own experience of racism.
The MPs told the home secretary they were disappointed “at the way you used your heritage and experiences of racism to gaslight the very real racism faced by black people and communities across the UK”.
But Ms Patel hit back at them, tweeting: “I will not be silenced by @UKLabour MPs who continue to dismiss the contributions of those who don’t conform to their view of how ethnic minorities should behave.”
Sky’s host Sophy Ridge asked her today about the letter and her feelings towards it
She said: “More than 30 Labour MPs from BAME backgrounds wrote to you and spoke in the House of Commons about Black Lives Matter — and they said they were disappointed at way you used your heritage to gaslight the very real racism faced across UK.
“Do you think some people have a problem with you, as a BAME woman who is a Conservative?”
The Home Secretary replied: “Clearly in the case of those Labour MPs, they simply do.
“Primarily because they take the stance and the position that I just don’t conform to their preconceived idea or stereotypical view of what an ethnic minority woman should stand for and represent.
“In my view Sophy, that in itself is racist. It is very disappointing, I am not going to dignify that letter any further.”
Sad to have just received this letter.
— Priti Patel (@pritipatel) June 11, 2020
The Home Secretary had been praised for her brave speech about her own struggles with sick racist abuse earlier in the week.
Ms Patel laid bare her own experiences, and claimed Labour “effectively said that this government doesn’t understand racial inequality”.
She continued: “Well, on that basis, it must have been a very different home secretary who as a child was frequently called a P**i in the playground.
“A very different home secretary who was racially abused in the streets or even advised to drop her surname and use her husband’s in order to advance her career.
“A different home secretary recently characterised in The Guardian newspaper as a fat cow with a ring through its nose – something that was not only racist but offensive, both culturally and religiously.
“This is hardly an example of respect, equality, tolerance or fairness.
“So, when it comes to racism, sexism, tolerance for social justice, I will not take lectures from the other side of the House.”
Matt Hancock backed her up at the No10 press conference.
He said: “Of course Priti Patel was not wrong to talk about her personal experiences of racism. I have seen this letter and I abhor these identity politics.
“I’m incredibly proud to be part of the most diverse Government… with Priti and Rishi, and Alok and Nadhim, and Kemi, and James and Suella, and all the rest.
“We dont think that there’s any such thing as the wrong type of BAME, we think we are equal.
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“That is what we need to see as a society – everyone seeing others as equal.
“And I just hope the debates that are rightly taking place, are debates that about how we can promote true equality of opportunity and see everybody for the people that they are.”
Fellow minister James Cleverly said the letter was “deeply offensive and crass”.