Yesterday in the House of Commons, Naz Shah, who is Labour MP for Bradford West, asked Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom to call a debate on Islamophobia, given the scale of it in the Tory Party, and following the report from the All Party Parliamentary Group, and its definition of Islamophobia. Ms Leadsom’s reply was, to put it mildly, not what Ms Shah had been expecting. And it was delivered with a perfectly straight face.
“She raises a very important point about whether we should seek a definition of Islamophobia and I would encourage her to perhaps seek an adjournment debate in the first instance, so that she can discuss with Foreign Office ministers whether that would be a useful way forward” [my emphasis]. The inference was clear, but it seems not to Ms Leadsom. She was soon made aware of just what she had inferred.
Ms Shah spelled it out. “I asked @andrealeadsom to call a debate on #Islamophobia given the scale of it in @Conservatives Party & following the @APPGBritMuslims report & definition. She said : speak to foreign office ministers about Islamophobia. When did attacks on BRITISH Muslims become a foreign issue?” Quite. And there was more.
An exasperated Sayeeda Warsi was having difficulty believing what had happened. “Wwwwwhhhhhhaaaaaatttttt? @andrealeadsom … British Muslims are errrrr British … What is wrong with some of my colleagues … We are in a hole .....stop digging!”
Cross-party agreement with that sentiment came from Owen Jones. “Whether it slipped out or not, whether it’s subconscious or not, this reveals that when a senior Tory thinks of Muslims, they don’t think of them as British”. Rachael Cousins was aghast. “Oh my days. Are the government seriously trying to tell us that Islamophobia in BRITAIN is a matter for the FOREIGN office? They are BRITISH Muslims. I’ll say it again. BRITISH. This has been a shocking and very revealing day for the Conservative Party”. Sadly, this was true.
So Ms Leadsom duly fired up the spin machine, to tell the world, or rather those in our free and fearless press prepared to shill for the Tories, who may be well disposed towards not telling their readers of this latest indiscretion. Channel 4 News reported that “Her spokesperson now claims she thought the proposed debate was ‘referring to a global definition of Islamophobia’ - not UK Islamophobia”. A big boy did it and ran away.
But the bigotry in Tory ranks keeps on being unearthed. Dawn Foster observed “This is grim … The Tories Have Reinstated A Councillor Who Posted Anti-Muslim Memes”. That Councillor had also mocked Diane Abbott. Ms Cousins added “Tory chairman accused of repeatedly ignoring racism complaints … @BrandonLewis failed to investigate claim councillor was called an ‘orangutan’, party members say”.
And all the while, the Twitter feed known as Racists4Rees-Mogg continues to expose more party members with shockingly intolerant views - including the promotion of anti-Semitic material. No wonder the Tories want their press pals to “look over there” at Labour. Because the real racist party is the Tories. And they’re doing very little about it.
The clumsy giveaway from Andrea Leadsom might just explain that. Just a thought.
Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by adding to its Just Giving page at