Sayeeda Warsi has denounced her Conservative party colleague Matt Hancock for “whitesplaining” Islamophobia to her after he suggested “there are others who take a more balanced approach” to the issue.
Lady Warsi responded furiously to Hancock, the health secretary, after his comments on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme while addressing the Conservative party’s decision not to hold an inquiry into Islamophobia.
Challenged on Warsi’s strident criticism of her own party’s record on discrimination against Muslims, Hancock said: “Well look, I like Sayeeda. She has a particular view on this, there are others who take a more balanced approach.”
Asked if he was saying she was “unbalanced”, Hancock replied: “No, I’m certainly not saying that. I have an enormous amount of respect for Sayeeda but she does take a particular view.”
Hours later, Warsi tweeted: “Oh [Matt Hancock]. Thank you for ‘whitesplaining’ this to me. 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.”
A former minister and Tory party chair, Warsi has been a vocal critic of the party’s approach on tackling cases of Islamophobia. On Friday, after Johnson confirmed there would be no inquiry into Islamphobia before Christmas, she wrote on Twitter: “Yes disappointing. Yes predictable. Yes it’s true my party don’t give a — about racism within our own ranks. We are only anti-racist to score political points. Do as we say not as we do.”
Responding on Twitter to Hancock’s comments, Miqdaad Versi, the director of the media monitoring team for the Muslim Council of Britain, said Hancock was trying to pretend Warsi was isolated in her criticism.
“The reality is that evidence of the scale of Islamophobia in the party is huge albeit under-reported and deniers of its scale should be challenged with the truth,” he tweeted.