Melanie Phillips and Layla Moran clash in racism debate
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Journalist Melanie Phillips clashed with Layla Moran after the columnist suggested Black Lives Matter was an “anti-white” organisation and that taking the knee at football matches supported the group. Ms Phillips accused Ms Moran of “libelling” the UK by calling it systematically racist as the pair ended up in a slanging match with each other. Ms Moran called Ms Phillip’s views “utter rubbish” as BBC Politics Live host Jo Coburn could only watch on.
Speaking on BBC Politics Live, Ms Phillips attacked Black Lives Matter and taking the knee at football games and gave her verdict on what the group stood for.
Black Lives Matter is the name of the decentralised social movement which addresses racial injustices and prejudice.
Originating in America, the movement has spread to other western societies as people rally behind the group to address racism.
But critics of the movement have questioned their political aims.
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Ms Phillips said: “This [taking the knee] was then taken up by Black Lives Matter, which is a fundamentally anti-white, anti-Western, anti-Jew organisation.
“And the whole schtick of Black Lives Matter is that Britain is, as Layla Moran had said, systematically racist.
“Now that is a libel on Britain, it is a racial libel on Britain, it is a deeply racist statement, to take the knee is a racist anti-white statement – that is why it should be condemned.”
Ms Moran was invited to reply and said: “Utter rubbish, it is a gesture, it is a thing that you are doing to raise a deeper issue.
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“But to suggest that it is devoid of substance behind it, it’s not just about racism in football, it’s about racism against a lot of minority groups in this country who suffer this day in, day out.
“And who don’t have that platform to be able to raise it.”
Ms Phillips could be heard trying to interrupt Ms Moran’s answer but the Lib Dem pushed on regardless.
She added England manager Gareth Southgate said it does not have to be a gesture like taking the knee but it is a way for players to show their solidarity against racism.
Mr Southgate also urged fans to stop booing when players perform the gesture.
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Ms Moran ended her segment by telling Ms Phillips: “If you don’t want to take the knee, then don’t.”
Taking the knee and racism in football became a huge public conversation following England’s performance in the Euro 2020 tournament.
Following Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka missing their penalty shootout, the players received a surge in racist abuse on their social media which had forced Government to comment.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged those who are caught carrying out or are convicted of racist abuse would be banned from football matches in the future.
England players would also take the knee before each game in solidarity with black players who are subject to racist abuse.
But football fans could often be heard booing the gesture when it was being carried out.
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