A Tory minister has claimed they “only came to government in December” so they haven’t been able to do all of the things they’ve wanted to do… despite, you know, his party being in power since 2010.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps was asked about racial inequality in light of a new report highlighting the disproportionate effect coronavirus has on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities.
He told Sky News:
Wherever there's inequality, we want to root it out. We think there’s no place for inequality – whether that’s people who are particularly vulnerable, as in the case of Covid, or the wider issues of levelling up society. We think there are too many places that have been left behind.
Our entire... if you remember we only came to government in December – with the new government – and our entire manifesto was really about levelling up communities and taking the left behind cases and helping to bring them level. That’s part of our core mission.
While it’s true the current government won the 12 December election last year, the Tory Party has ruled since David Cameron in 2010.
Shapps himself was Minister of State for Housing and Local Government from 2010-2012, Minister of State, Department for International Development in 2015 and then Secretary of State for Transport in 2019.
The Tory MP’s comments infuriated people on social media, who thought he was trying to shirk responsibility for the problem of racial inequality:
During that same interview, Shapps said “let's not pretend there's some sort of magic solution to these things” before applauding Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch for taking the report forward.
According to a government report released this week, people of Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, other Asian, Caribbean and other black ethnicity had between a 10 per cent and 50 per cent higher risk of death when compared to white British people.
At the time of writing, over 283,000 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the UK and over 40,000 have died.