Not only did a Tory minister make false claims to Parliament about racism in the Labour Party, but the official record of the debate – Hansard – was doctored to make it seem that she did not.
Boris Johnson [Image: The Agitator].
Worse still, Victoria Atkins had already added to her party’s tally of racism by telling a fellow MP who happens not to be white to know her place and not be uppity with her betters (although she didn’t use those exact words).
Her shocking abuse of her position has sparked a demand for the Commons Speaker, Lindsay Hoyle, to take action – not just to correct the record but to save the reputation of the House of Commons.
Here’s just one complaint to Hoyle, from Twitter, with follow-up messages to show the issue:
You can see that Leftworks is absolutely correct by watching this video (ironically posted by a fan of Atkins).
She did indeed quote the EHRC’s remit as though it were that organisation’s conclusion – it was not – and Hansard did indeed insert three words to falsify the record.
The effect of Atkins’s words at the time they were said, and in that place, would have been to negate Jeremy Corbyn’s argument – she was effectively saying that he was a racist and therefore had no right to accuse others.
Furthermore, of course, her claim about Luciana Berger needing police protection was false.
Right-thinking people are up in arms about this – and rightly so:
Ms Atkins, who was standing in for her racist boss, Home Secretary Priti Patel, was in the Commons to answer an urgent question on what the government would do to stop racist abuse on the social media.
Patel had been – rightly – accused of “stoking” such abuse by Tyrone Mings of the England football team, whose teammates Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho were victims of it.
When she was tackled on the racism of her own prime minister by rising Labour star Zarah Sultana, Atkins treated her as if she were a black housemaid in the pre-Civil War American south, warning her to “lower” her “tone”:
I make no apologies for adding in this tweet, which includes much of the same video material, for the sake of Seema Chandwani’s observation about the way Ms Sultana was treated:
Shall we have a think about racism by the prime minister – that’s Boris Johnson, by the way – and by Atkins’s boss Patel?
Let’s start with Priti Patel, who locked asylum-seekers from foreign countries into filthy concentration camps where overcrowding caused hundreds of them to catch Covid-19. How many of them died? We haven’t seen the figures.
She wants to bring in a new law making it an offence to help refugees into the UK – even by saving them from drowning in the sea off the UK’s coasts.
Another Bill passing through Parliament at the moment will target the GRT community – Gypsies, Romanies and Travellers – by assuming that they are committing crimes simply because they are Gypsies, Romanies or Travellers. This is classically-defined racism.
The Home Office at which Atkins is a minister destroyed the records showing that members of the Windrush Generation were UK citizens – and then pursued an aggressive policy to deny them services they had spent decades funding, like NHS healthcare and state benefits, while taking action to deport them. One may conclude from this that Atkins is a racist herself.
Need I go on?
As for Boris Johnson, Twitter has been full of commentary on his racism:
That’s right – he actually approached a black woman at a party, made monkey noises at her and tried to hand her a watermelon.
How about some more references to Johnson’s historical pronouncements?
This is now a summary of commentators’ attitude to Johnson:
And – thankfully – the fact of his racism is filtering through to the general public, despite the protection he gets from the Tory media:
Perhaps the last word on Johnson’s racism should be this, that relates it back to Atkins:
As for Hansard: it seems the record may be edited – possibly by MPs themselves – but not if the meaning of the words spoken is changed by those edits:
The changes to Atkins’s speech change the meaning of the words and are therefore not permissible.
As Commons Speaker – the MP who chairs sessions of the House of Commons – Lindsay Hoyle needs to act to save its reputation.
How many other changes are being made to Hansard, that nobody catches because they happen surreptitiously?
And why would Hoyle – or anyone working in Parliament – wish to support or enable these Tory racists?
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