A Tory minister was warned “putting people of colour in the Cabinet” doesn’t “erase” the race issues within the Conservative Party.
Home Office and Justice Minister Chris Philp was told “there is house work you need to be doing too” in a fiery row with writer Bonnie Greer over a damning anti-semitism probe into the Labour Party.
Former leader Jeremy Corbyn has been suspended after claiming the scale of the issue has been “dramatically overstated” in light of an EHRC investigation.
The watchdog report found Mr Corbyn’s office unlawfully interfered in complaints, including against the ex-leader himself.
During an appearance on BBC’s Question Time, Mr Philp demanded Mr Corbyn be sacked in an unfiltered rant about the Opposition but was kept in check by Ms Greer.
Host Fiona Bruce asked the Tory when a report on prejudice against those of the Islamic faith in his own party – launched last year – would see the light of day.
“Well, that report is underway, it’s independent, it’s being conducted by a former commissioner from the ECHR,” he said, before the veteran broadcaster asked him again.
“I can’t give you a date tonight, the work is underway,” he said, as Ms Bruce cut in: “Because it’s been over a year now.”
The minister said: “I would point out, there’s only one political party in history that is being investigated by the Equality and Human Rights Commission – and that is the Labour Party on this anti-semitism issue.”
He went on to say the Conservative Party has “appointed the most diverse government in British history”.
“The first party to have appointed an ethnic minority Chancellor of the Exchequer and a second ethnic minority Chancellor of the Exchequer.
“We were the first party to appoint an ethnic minority Home Secretary and a second.
“We have appointed the most diverse cabinet as a symbol of our commitment to this important issue,” he said.
But Ms Greer told him he was somewhat wide of the mark, before later suggesting there was an element of ‘tokenism’ apparent in boasting about appointing people due to their colour.
“Chris, that’s what they used to say to folks when they were desegregating a neighbourhood.
“‘Oh, well we have a black person in our neighbourhood, so we’re cool, we’re alright’.
“It doesn’t wash anymore, okay?” she said. “You don’t judge people like that anymore. We look at human beings.”
She went on to refer to member of the House of Lords,Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, who “has been on the Conservative Party, her party, for years about this”.
“This does not excuse a wash over the Labour Party. I’m not doing that,” continued Ms Greer, who said she is a life-long Labour voter but the EHRC report made her “sick”.
“But there is housework you need to be doing too and putting people of colour in the Cabinet does not erase that fact,” she added.