Norwich MP's anger at complaints over race report tweet

Norwich South Labour MP Clive Lewis. Picture: Nick Butcher

Norwich South Labour MP Clive Lewis. Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

A Norwich MP has hit back against complaints over a tweet he sent damning a report into racism.

After the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities (CRED) published a report into racial integration, Norwich South MP Clive Lewis commented on it by tweeting a picture of a Ku Klux Klan member with the caption "Move along. Nothing to see here."

Commission chairman Tony Sewell has criticised the post and has written to the parliamentary committee for standards calling for an investigation to be held.

But Mr Lewis has defended the tweet and reiterated his intentions when he sent it.

 "My comments have never been about the commissioners as I have made clear many times," Mr Lewis said. "They have always been about the government’s motivations and the widely discredited CRED report, part-authored by No 10.

"It’s now clear to me that report has failed in its attempt to downplay structural racism.

"Rather than deal with this failing, No 10 has decided to pursue a deeply regrettable series of attacks on individuals and charities that have legitimately spoken out on the CRED report’s failings."

Among the organisations to criticise the report is the Runnymede Trust, a think tank founded in 1968 to oppose structural racism.

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Meanwhile the United Nations has also been critical of the report suggesting it had attempted to normalise white supremacy. 

But in his letter to the standards commissioner, Dr Sewell wrote: "'This disturbing and distasteful post was extremely offensive to all of us on the commission.

"It was a shocking and wholly reprehensible reaction to our report, which puts forward an evidence-based argument for causes and drivers of some of the disparities that exist for people from all races and ethnicities in the UK"

However, Mr Lewis has questioned the motives behind his complaint.

He added: "This concerted twisting and mis-representation of the truth is part of an alarming pattern of behaviour from this government.

"Behaviour more akin to that of Hungary or Poland and a blatant attempt to close down legitimate, democratic criticism by underhand means.”