Foreign ‘enemies’ strengthened by UK ‘caving in’ to Black Lives Matter, Tory peer claims in Afghanistan debate

Tory peer criticised for ‘divisive and despicable’ reference to BLM during emergency debate

Nadine White
Thursday 19 August 2021 01:54 BST
UK must stop ‘caving in’ to ‘incredibly ignorant left-wing activists, such as Black Lives Matter,’ Tory peer says
UK must stop ‘caving in’ to ‘incredibly ignorant left-wing activists, such as Black Lives Matter,’ Tory peer says (PA)

A Conservative peer has been criticised after claiming the UK’s enemies have been bolstered by the country not having “confidence” in its values and instead “caving in” to left wing issues such as Black Lives Matter during an emergency debate on Afghanistan.

Lord Andrew Robathan told a recalled House of Lords that Britain must focus on restoring its place in the world following the disaster, which saw the Taliban capture Afghanistan at lightning speed, following the US and UK withdrawal.

“We need to focus on restoring the standing of the West, of Nato and of Britain, and our values around the world,” he said.

“We need to show confidence in our values, our history and our society and be proud of our history, not apologising the whole time and caving in to incredibly ignorant left-wing activists, such as Black Lives Matter, elsewhere. Our enemies sense our collapse in confidence and our weakness,” he said.

Crossbench peer Lord Simon Woolley later responded: “My Lords, let me first say shame on Lord Robathan to make make cheap, divisive remarks in this important debate about Afghanistan by claiming that Black Lives Matter is somehow against the interests of the UK.

“Black Lives Matter is about equality, diversity and decency – something he has lacked today.”

Campaigning group Windrush Lives said, of Lord Robathan’s comments: “These types of views tend to cut across to all other non-white causes, pressure groups etc, which is how Lord Robathan managed to shoehorn a sideswipe at BLM into this unrelated and very serious emergency situation.”

Lord Woolley later told The Independent: “On the most important parliamentary debate that I’ve been involved in, it was gut wrenching to hear Lord Robathan’s divisive remarks made on a day in which the Lords were focused on Afghans – who most of us felt had been let down by the west.”

“Robathan sought to use the stage to demonise all those who have fought for racial justice in a most despicable way.”

While addressing the house, Lord Robathan also dismissed Afghanistan as a “tribal country” and took aim at its religion.

“We have never understood Afghanistan – it is more than a foreign country, it is totally different,” he said.

“It is a tribal country, it has tribal elders, a religion which we don’t entirely understand, it can be very backward and has some barbaric practices.”

When approached for comment, Lord Robathan told The Independent: “My comments have nothing to do with race equality. I was speaking about the collapse of confidence in Western society and values, which will have Putin, and others who wish us ill, laughing at us.

“BLM wants to end the capitalist system, so I understand, as well as “defund the police”.”

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