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Suffolk Tory Matt Hancock accused of 'whitesplaining' by leading baroness

PUBLISHED: 11:48 09 November 2019 | UPDATED: 13:07 09 November 2019

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has been accused of

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has been accused of "whitesplaining" by Baroness Warsi over his comments on Islamophobia Picture: HOUSE OF COMMONS

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A leading Conservative baroness has hit out at the Health Secretary and Suffolk general election candidate Matt Hancock for his comments on Islamophobia within their party.

Follow the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star for all the local coverage ahead of the general election 2019  Picture: ARCHANTFollow the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star for all the local coverage ahead of the general election 2019 Picture: ARCHANT

Mr Hancock has said the Tories need to hold an inquiry on Islamophobia within the party, but claimed others "take a more balanced approach" on the issue than leading politician and Muslim Baroness Warsi.

Lady Warsi, who formerly served as party chairman and was the first Muslim to serve in cabinet, has led the charge into battling discrimination within the party ranks, having spent 30 years working in race relations.

Lady Warsi said she is "glad" to be educated on the issue by Mr Hancock, who will be fighting to retain the West Suffolk constituency.

Their debate comes following Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcement to conduct a "general investigation into prejudice", which Lady Varsi said was "disappointing" but "predictable".

Baroness Warsi has long battled against Islamophobia and racism  Picture: YUI MOK/PA ARCHIVE/PA IMAGESBaroness Warsi has long battled against Islamophobia and racism Picture: YUI MOK/PA ARCHIVE/PA IMAGES

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme, 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", the Health Secretary 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 took to Twitter to respond to the interview, accusing Mr Hancock of "whitesplaining" - the act of a white person explaining issues faced by people of colour, often in a condescending manner.

The tweet continued: "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'."

Boris Johnson has himself been in the spotlight regarding Islamophobia after commenting that women wearing the Niqab looked like letterboxes.

Speaking on BBC Radio Nottinghamshire on Friday, Mr Johnson said: "Saj and I are totally in agreement with this, we are doing a general investigation into prejudice of all kinds.

"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."

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