UK home secretary Priti Patel said she did not support the Black Lives Matter demonstrations, calling the protests “dreadful” in an interview with LBC this morning.
When asked whether she would “take the knee”, Patel said: “No, I would not, I would not have at the time either. There are other ways in which people can express their opinions.” She added she was not criticising the right to protest.
The largest anti-racism protests in Britain for decades took place last June and July, across more than 260 cities and towns.
The demonstrations were sparked by the death of George Floyd in the US, while he was in police custody in Minneapolis, leading to solidarity protests around the world.
In the UK this also led to the toppling of statues of slave traders, including the statue of Edward Colston in Bristol, and renewed protests against the statue of Cecil Rhodes at the University of Oxford.
Patel criticised statues being taken down and councils taking a stance on statues and street names, stating: “There are other ways in which those discussions can take place, and quite frankly I didn’t support that attempt to re-write history. I felt that was wrong.”
‘Loony leftwing wheezes’
Patel’s comments come in the wake of Commons leader Jacob-Rees Mog criticizing London mayor Sadiq Khan for his creation of a landmark commission to improve diversity in the capital’s public spaces, calling this the overseeing of “loony leftwing wheezes.”
Khan announced plans to form such a commission a few days after the statue of Colston was pulled down in Bristol in June.
In a tweet announcing the launch of the Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm on 9 February, Khan said: “It’s only right that our city’s statues, street names and landmarks reflect London’s rich and diverse history and represent Londoners from all walks of life.”