House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom has come under fire after suggesting that a debate on the definition of Islamophobia is a matter for the Foreign Office.
Yesterday, Labour MP Naz Shah called on the senior government minister to hold an urgent debate after Baroness Warsi, Britain's first Muslim cabinet minister, slammed the Tory's over Islamophobia within the party. (She did this after 14 people were suspended from the party amid reports that some members were part of an Islamophobic Facebook group.)
In her response, Leadsom suggested that the Foreign Office should play a role in adopting an official definition for Islamophobia:
She raises a very important point about whether we should seek a definition of Islamophobia and I would encourage her to perhaps seek an adjournment debate in the first instance so she can discuss with Foreign Office officials.
Shah said she was "shocked" by the response and that the Commons leader’s comments on Thursday “played into the idea that Muslims are less British” and “exposed a profound ignorance of race issues” at the top of government.
Not only did the MP find the comments shocking, but many others took to Twitter to call out the leader of the House for her offensive comments.
After all the criticism, Leadsom tried to clarify her remarks, saying she thought Shah was referring to “a global definition of Islamophobia”, which would be a matter for the Foreign Office.
But the Labour MP wasn't having any of it, writing to Theresa May in a letter:
Andrea Leadsom played into the idea that Muslims born in our country are ‘foreigners’ or somehow less British than the rest of us. I cannot express how damaging the consequences of this could be for the British Muslim community.
The latest comments come only days after Amber Rudd called Diane Abbott a "coloured woman" during a BBC radio interview while talking about the abuse suffered by politicians.