Tory peer accuses Braverman of ‘racist rhetoric’


On 2 April, when outlining government measures to tackle grooming gangs, Braverman singled out British-Pakistani men as a major source of concern…reports Asian Lite News

A senior Conservative peer has urged Rishi Sunak to distance the party from Suella Braverman’s “racist rhetoric” or risk ruining his legacy as the first Asian prime minister.

Sayeeda Warsi, the first Asian person to chair the Tory party, said Braverman’s ethnic origin has “shielded her from criticism for too long”, claiming Conservatives had been “hesitant to hold an ethnic minority MP to account in the same way they would a white MP”.

Lady Warsi said it was time for the party to realise that “black and brown people can be racist too”, adding how “painfully disappointing” it had been to hear the home secretary single out British-Pakistani men as being of special concern in relation to child sexual cases, as part of the most diverse cabinet in history.

Warsi told Gurdian, “I do not believe Sunak shares Braverman’s extreme views. In his own statement on government plans to tackle child sexual exploitation, he did not use the same language as Braverman and looked uncomfortable when questioned about it. But as head of the party, the responsibility stops with him. As the first prime minister from an ethnic minority background, he should not want to be remembered for presiding over a government that engaged in racist rhetoric. The prime minister must now reach out to the people who have been harmed by Braverman’s comments – those diverse communities who are suffering the direct impact of her inaccuracy. He must address the concerns raised by those diverse and varied leaders and organisations who have written him letters in their hundreds calling for an end to this irresponsible and divisive language. His legacy depends on him having the strength to stamp out this rhetoric, and stop it becoming a part of this government’s identity.”

Warsi admitted she had found it difficult criticising Braverman because she was a party colleague but also because she was a woman of colour.

“I am cautious about the language I use in speaking about Braverman’s comments,” she added. “As someone who’s faced racism all my life, I recognise it when I see it. And however difficult it may be, I will not let cultural sensitivity and the colour of the home secretary’s skin stop me from speaking out.”

Albie Amankona, a Tory campaigner who co-founded the race relations group Conservatives Against Racism For Equality, said on Twitter: “I don’t understand how it’s possible for one person, Suella Braverman, to find themselves almost weekly at the centre of so much racial insensitivity. I’ve said it before, there is something not right there.”

Warsi’s comments follow letters sent to Sunak calling for him to act over Braverman’s rhetoric, including from the British Pakistan Foundation, which accused the home secretary of seeking to portray all British-Pakistani men in a “divisive and dangerous way”.

On 2 April, when outlining government measures to tackle grooming gangs, Braverman singled out British-Pakistani men as a major source of concern.

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