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Raab clashes with senior Labour politician over anti-Semitism and Islamophobia

Dominic Raab faced up to shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, left, and shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, left, and shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

By Thomas Hornall and George Ryan, PA

The Foreign Secretary clashed with a senior Labour politician in a tense exchange about racism in each of the two main parties.

Dominic Raab faced up to shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald after the pair conducted a short interview with Sky News about the leaders’ Question Time debate.

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The pair were involved in a heated exchange (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The pair point fingers at each other in an animated manner as Mr McDonald reprimands Mr Raab about the Conservatives’ failure to hold an inquiry into Islamophobia while Mr Rabb chastises him about anti-Semitism in Labour.

Speaking over each other for close to a minute as others in the room look on, McDonald says: “You’re actually putting it into the long grass, you’re refusing to do it … listen to Baroness Warsi, she’s telling you what to do about it. You should be doing it.”

Mr Raab said: “Two parties in this country’s history have been investigated by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) – Labour under Corbyn and the BNP (British National Party).

“Answer that.”

The visibly frustrated Mr Raab then walks away.

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A visibly irritated Dominic Raab walked away (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Later, on the BBC’s Newsnight, Mr McDonald said Labour is “happy” to be subject to an inquiry into anti-Semitism because its efforts to tackle the issue could be “externally validated”.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission launched an investigation into anti-Semitism in the party in August “after receiving a number of complaints about allegations”.

Mr McDonald added: “We’re happy that EHRC are looking into these matters because if they can look at our processes and find any room for improvement then we want to hear from them.

“We think we’ve taken many steps including the doubling of staff, the appointing of internal counsel, and speeding up the processing of complaints.

“So we’ve done an awful lot about this but we are very happy to have that externally validated and looked into by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, and really that’s why we set it up in the first instance so they could carry out these functions.”

Asked if Labour could have envisaged being investigated by the commission it set up in 2007, he said it “should have no barriers to where it looks” and suggested it should look into Islamophobia complaints in the Tory party.

He added: “Hopefully the Conservative Party will take the warnings from Baroness Warsi and set up their inquiry into Islamophobia and if necessary the EHRC may want to look there as well.

“It’s critically important that we remove all forms of prejudice out of political life and wider society.”

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Baroness Warsi has called for an inquiry into apparent anti-Muslim bigotry within the Conservative Party (Yui Mok/PA)

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi has been vocal in calling for an inquiry into apparent anti-Muslim bigotry within the Conservative Party.

She recently tweeted the decision not to hold an inquiry into the specific issue was “disappointing” and “predictable”.

PA

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