Senior Ipswich Tory claims there is 'virtually no racism' in England
- Credit: Paul Geater
Prominent Conservative councillor Nadia Cenci has prompted a social media storm by posting a Tweet saying there is "virtually no racism in England" during the ongoing debate over abuse of black stars after the Euro 2020 final.
The Ipswich and Suffolk councillor was criticised by former Ipswich mayor Glen Chisholm who said that her comment flew in the face of the everyday experience of people with black or minority ethnic heritage.
He said: "As a mixed race person I see racism every day of my life - so do my family and friends.
"To say there is virtually no racism in this country is wrong and builds a false narrative. It is like gaslighting the community."
Mr Chisholm said when he was an Ipswich councillor he had worked with Ms Cenci and respected her work in the community - but be felt offended and disappointed by the statement.
Ms Cenci said she accepted there were racists in society - but she did not feel that England was institutionally racist. She also felt racism was much less common than it had been in earlier decades.
She said: "As someone of Italian heritage I saw a lot more racism in the past - and I say things as I see them."
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She believed the issue of racism had been stirred up by extreme left groups - and felt the Black Lives Matter movement had been particularly instrumental in raising the issue.
And she pledged to continue to exercise her right to free speech.
This is not the first time Ms Cenci's Tweets have prompted controversy - in 2017 she resigned as Conservative group leader on Ipswich Borough Council and deleted her councillor Twitter account after suggesting that support for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire was diminishing.
She emphasised that these new Tweets were from her personal account and represented her views as an individual rather than as a councillor.
However, her Twitter profile does point out that she is an Ipswich and Suffolk councillor - she has been on the borough for many years and was elected as one of two Conservative county councillors in Chantry in May.