Not a single black MP has been chosen to speak in a House of Commons debate about online racist abuse in Parliament on Wednesday afternoon.
Thirty MPs are on the call sheet for an urgent question in Parliament this afternoon – including Labour’s Yvette Cooper, Jeremy Corbyn and Zarah Sultana.
But no black MPs have been selected to participate in the debate, which asks Priti Patel – the home secretary – to “make a statement on the prevalence of racist abuse on social media”.
This is would extremely bad if it is allowed to proceed with not a single black MP allowed to speak at a debate on racism https://t.co/VrlsEZvb9c— Jessica Elgot ?????????????? (@jessicaelgot) July 14, 2021
It comes as a former Tory minister said that the party needs to change their attitudes towards people taking the knee amid the continuing fallout from the racist abuse of England’s black footballers.
Steve Baker said the controversy which erupted after the Euro 2020 final at Wembley should serve as a “wake-up call” to the party over how it is seen in the rest of the country.
Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were subjected to a torrent racist abuse on social media after they failed to score in the penalty shoot-out against Italy on Sunday.
That in turn prompted an outpouring of support for the trio, with hundreds of fans gathering to leave messages at a mural of Rashford in Manchester after it was defaced by vandals.
Meanwhile, England player Tyrone Mings accused Patel of having stoked the fires of racism when she previously dismissed the team’s action of taking the knee at the start of matches as “gesture politics”.
Baker drew back from criticising Patel but warned that Tories need to consider how their words are received when they address such issues.
“It is a wake-up call to the Conservative Party of just how powerful our words are when we navigate these issues,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“We have to get alongside those players who are taking the knee and understand they are not saying defund the police, they are not anti-capitalist. What they are doing is saying ‘We suffer racism’.
“What I am saying to my colleagues is that we have to confront the reality of how we are sometimes heard, even by people on our own side.”
His comments came after another Conservative former minister, Johnny Mercer, said he thinks Mings is “completely right”.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps insisted thegGovernment is firmly committed to opposing racism.
“We are absolutely united as a Government – and I hope as a country as well – in booting out racism. We abhor it,” he told Sky News.