A Government Minister has savaged the former Leader of the Labour Party in the House of Commons today.
Victoria Atkins, the MP for Louth and Horncastle and the current Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for safeguarding, unleashed a savage response to Jeremy Corbyn’s question on the Government’s reaction to racist abuse online.
Ms Atkins replied to the question by highlighting Mr Corbyn’s own failure to deal with the anti-Semitism within his own party and said that he was, therefore, not the right person to be scrutinising the Government on their handling of racism online.
Mr Corbyn’s question came following the abuse aimed at members of the England National football team following their defeat against Italy on Sunday. In particular, the players who took the penalties that eventually caused the defeat were targeted, which included Marcus Rashford, Bakayo Saka and Jayden Sancho.
Mr Corbyn asked the Minister:
“Isn’t the issue the Government has refused to take any action towards ending social media discrimination of any kind? This in turn has fanned the flames of divisiveness and hate in our communities that we are currently witnessing, as my friend and Member for Coventry South has just pointed out. The Amnesty International report on Toxic Twitter pointed out that black women are 84 more likely to receive racist abuse online than anyone else. So the question to the Minister is quite simply this: what real steps is she going to take urgently to ensure that no-one – and I mean absolutely no-one – is able to post any racist abuse online at all?”
Ms Atkins responded to the question by saying:
“I suspect I am not the only person who has felt a little bit astonished that it is this Right Honourable Member who has asked that question about taking immediate action to tackle racism. I remind the House of the findings of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission. Under his watch Labour has unlawfully discriminated against harassed or victimised people because they are Jewish, and I am also reminded that a Jewish female MP had to have police protection at his Party Conference because of fears of her own safety. So I will listen to many, many people about tackling racism, I will work with pretty much anyone, but I must say I will take a long spoon to suck with this particular member.”
It has previously been reported that most of the racist abuse being posted online originated from countries outside the UK and, therefore, is not prosecutable under UK law.