The Address | Benghazi – Libya
BIRMINGHAM – British politician Jacob Rees-Mogg, currently serving as a member of parliament for the Conservative Party, was accused of racism following his comments on Libya at the Conservative conference in Birmingham on Monday.
During his speech, he ridiculed the term ‘people’s vote’ which he said sounded totalitarian. He said: “All the countries who are least interested in their people call themselves ‘people’s’, don’t they? So the People’s Republic of China? Oh, that’s communist. And the People’s Republic of…jam jar, or something like that, of Libya, was what it was called when Colonel Gaddafi was in charge.” Referring to Libya’s official name under its former dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, which was Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.
The comments quickly draw criticism. In a tweet, Labour MP Alex Sobel condemned the comments as ‘causal racism’.
Deary me @Jacob_Rees_Mogg your first attempt at global diplomacy has failed in a bit of casual racism. Did you and @BorisJohnson have the same Geography teacher at @Eton_College? Maybe now is the time to learn some respect for other countries https://t.co/M3WdgKPWtE
— Alex Sobel (@alexsobel) September 30, 2018
Sobel also referenced former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson (Conservative) who was previously criticized for an insensitive statement in which he said that Libya has the potential to turn the city of Sirte into the next Dubai, once it has cleared the dead bodies away.
The Conservative Party has been criticized for tolerating its members’ racism. A recent study conducted by the National Centre for Social Research even found that over a third of Brexit leave voters hold ‘racially prejudiced’ views.