Priti Patel has responded to claims she used her Indian heritage to cast doubt on black communities’ experience of racism.
The Home Secretary tweeted: “I will not be silenced by @UKLabour MPs who continue to dismiss the contributions of those who don’t conform to their view of how ethnic minorities should behave.”
It was after she received a letter from a group of 33 opposition MPs criticising a comment she made in the House of Commons about racism she had experienced.
The letter said: “We write to you as Black Asian and Ethnic Minority Labour MPs to highlight our dismay at the way you used your heritage and experiences of racism to gaslight the very real racism faced by Black people and communities across the UK.”
Gaslighting refers to the act of psychologically manipulating someone to doubt their own experiences.
“Being a person of colour does not automatically make you an authority on all forms of racism,” the letter added.
The fallout came after a clash between the Conservative frontbencher and Labour MP Florence Eshalomi, who had called for government action on discrimination.
Ms Eshalomi had asked: “Does the Home Secretary actually understand the anger and frustration felt by so many people?”
Ms Patel “I’m really saddened that the honourable lady has effectively said that this government doesn’t understand racial inequality.”
The Home Secretary said she had suffered racial slurs and been racially abused in the street, adding: “When it comes to racism, sexism, tolerance or social justice I will not take lectures from the other side of the House.”
Ms Patel was accused of seeking to silence Ms Eshalomi.
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