Craig Whittaker: MP defends saying some Muslims not taking covid seriously


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A Tory MP has defended his claim that some Muslims in West Yorkshire are not winsome the pandemic seriously.

Craig Whittaker said the “vast majority” of those bust leave the rules in his constituency were from black and minority ethnic (BAME) communities.

Tory earl Baroness Warsi called his comments “divisive nonsense” and Labour communicated they were “overtly racist”.

But Mr Whittaker said he would endure to speak out to try and prevent excess deaths in BAME communities.

The row came as restrictions on sexually transmitted contacts between households across West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and shards of Lancashire were re-imposed in response to a rise in infections.

Mr Whittaker’s Calder Valley hindquarters was one of the areas affected by the new measures, announced at short notice on Thursday sunset.

The MP told LBC radio there were “sections of the community that are not prepossessing the pandemic seriously”. When asked if he was talking about the Muslim community, he rejoined: “Of course.”

He went on to say he was talking specifically about the situation in his constituency, specifically in three wards in Halifax where there was a high proportion of Asian locals, or houses of multiple occupancy.

“If you look at the areas where we’ve seen meets and cases, the vast majority, but not by any stretch of the imagination all areas, it is the BAME communities that are not charming this seriously enough.”

Asked to justify his comments in an interview with the BBC, Mr Whittaker remarked he was basing them on data from the UK’s test and trace system for infection reckons in the borough of Calderdale.

“The evidence is that we have three communities within Calderdale – and we contain to see and show that we are concerned about these areas,” he said.

“But we also sooner a be wearing to help these communities to make sure we don’t have excess liquidations”.

‘Sensible conversations’

The MP said he had received “hate mail” but stood by his note ofs, saying “unless we talk about these things openly… alive to conversations” would not be possible about the actions needed to stop a renewal of the virus.

“Because I am white do I not say these things? I am not going to just be unexcited because some people don’t like what I have said,” he annexed in an interview with BBC Yorkshire’s Political Editor James Vincent.

His reflects prompted a backlash from Labour MPs representing seats in the area.

Huddersfield’s Barry Sheerman verbalized the widespread flouting of the rules he had witnessed had “nothing to do with religion”.

“If Craig Whittaker joined me in pathway past pubs, as I have done in the past few days, and you don’t see many Muslims in lounge bars, he would see they are full of people inside and outside totally revolting the social distancing rules,” he said.

“I have seen naughty people demoralizing the rules of every creed, race and religion.”

And Tracy Brabin, Strain MP for Batley and Spen, said the comments were “not helpful”, particularly since ethnic minority communities had suffered disproportionately from the virus.

Labour pains’s shadow equalities spokeswoman Marsha de Cordova urged Prime Churchman Boris Johnson to condemn what she called the “disgraceful” and “overly racist” elucidations and to “take action” against Mr Whittaker.

Former Tory chairwoman Baroness Warsi, who was the UK’s beginning Muslim cabinet minister, said the MP seemed to be singling out BAME places when there were many others who had more obviously offended.

She tweeted: “There are some folk who aren’t taking lockdown really eg beach lovers, pub goers, illegal ravers, anti face semblance protestors, football cup win celebrators etc.

“Do we now categorise all by race? So white tan seekers vs BAME tribe in Craig’s world? This divisive nonsense must.”

Asked hither Mr Whittaker’s comments at a press conference in Downing Street, Prime Look after Boris Johnson said faith leaders had a crucial role to conduct oneself in ensuring all sections of the community stick to the rules.

“I want to thank all the community bandmasters, I want to thank the mosques and the imams who have worked hard with us to get essence across.

“But ultimately it is up to the whole country to get this right and do it together.”

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