Conservative frontbencher Kemi Badenoch hit out at the SNP’s Alison Thewliss asking to abolish a policy that she believes is unfair to black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds. The equalities minister labelled her comments “absolutely wrong” and explained different issues must not be merged just so she can receive traction from the press. Speaking in the Commons, Ms Thewliss said: “It’s one thing to say that black lives matter and quite another to force black people and people from BAME backgrounds out to work because they have no choice other than to go to work.
“They have no recourse to public funds.
“No recourse to public funds is a racist policy, will she abolish it now?”
Ms Badenoch responded: “I think I must push back on some of the things the Hn. Lady has said.
“It is wrong to conflate all black people with recent immigrants and assume, which is what she has just said, that we all to pay a surcharge.
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Tory Kemi Badenoch hit out at SNP’s Alison Thewliss
SNP’s Alison Thewliss was told off in the House of Commons by Conservative Kemi Badenoch
“That is wrong.
“I’m a black woman who is out to work. This house has done everything it can to make sure that I am following the guidelines and make sure all of us are.
“It is absolutely wrong to try and conflate lots of different issues and merge them into one just so they can get traction in the press.
“I go back to what I said in my original statement. It is not right for us to use confected outrage.
Ms Thewliss was accused of “enflaming racial tensions”
“We need the courage to say the right things and we need to courageous in order to calm down racial tensions and not inflame them just so we can have something to put on social media.”
Ms Badenoch went on to say Britain is “one of the best countries in the world to be a black person”.
She was told one placard at the Black Lives Matter protest in London read “Being black should not be a death sentence” and was urged to develop a detailed response to coronavirus involving all diverse communities.
She agreed with Labour’s Rupa Huq (Ealing Central and Acton) that the Government should not be seen to produce anything which looks like a “box-ticking exercise”.
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But she criticised the repetition of the placard slogan, insisting the right approach is to examine how to deal with disparities.
She added in the Commons: “But let us not in this House use statements like ‘being black is a death sentence’, which young people out there hear, don’t understand the context and then continue to believe that they live in a society that is against them when actually this is one of the best countries in the world to be a black person.”
Ms Badenoch later told Labour’s Zarah Sultana she would not be taking “any lessons on race” as she defended the Government’s record.