In response ming said you don’t get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labeling our anti racism message as gesture politics and then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing that we are campaigning against happens well, the chief secretary to the treasury, Stephen barkley joins us now. Do you think, do you think this? This ongoing silence from pretty patel in any meaningful statement should continue? Do you think it’s about time she tried to put the record straight because clearly there’s a big backlash going on out there. Well, clamping down on the appalling abuse we’ve seen of our footballers is something that hopefully unites us all: it’s it’s, something that should be rightly uh, condemned, it’s why the government is taking action through the online arms bill uh, the culture secretary has been working closely with The fa and with senior black footballers in drawing up that legislation, so we can take action and he said you said that should be acting on it now, but if they fail to do so, then we will legislate and we will find them for not doing so. You said that um anti racism should unite us. All. The home secretary said that the footballers taking the knee was simply gesture politics and re refused to condemn those who booed. While those footballers took the knee let’s just have a listen to what she said. I just don’t support. You know people participating in you know that type of gesture, gesture politics to a certain extent as well, it’s all well to support a cause, and you know make your voices heard: do you think they have the right outcomes? Did the england fans are right, taboo, well, that’s, a choice for them? Quite frankly, would you, but would you be bitter, i i i’ve not gone to a football match to even sort of you know contemplate that that was a couple of weeks ago.
Do you think she’s been overtaken by events? Well, the prime minister was asked about this uh yesterday and i think, as he said, it’s uh important that uh. However, people want to to make their views uh known in terms of protesting against racism. Then we respect that, including, if that is, is taking the knee. What do you think? No sorry, please answer the politely. Please answer the question: do you think that the home secretary has been overtaken by events? Do you think she needs to consider her position by that? I don’t mean resign but uh, but reissue a statement. The prime minister, i think, was clear yesterday that uh we should respect uh. However, people want to to make their point uh and the home secretary. Of course, herself has been the victim of the most appalling online abuse. She herself has consistently campaigned uh against racism, and indeed his home secretary is taking action uh to tackle that he’s going after the extreme uh right wing groups through her role as home secretary. So she herself has suffered, campaigned against it and i think the point she was jamaican was there are different ways of doing so and, as the prime minister said yesterday, we should respect that respect people uh in doing that, has she been overtaken by events? Well, i think the prime minister addressed this yesterday and i think we should respect uh people taking the knee or making that point in different ways, but for the government, i think if the government wasn’t taking action, then you’d quit be quick to say to me why Aren’T we acting on the social media platforms.
Why aren’t we legislating to stop them hosting this sort of vile abuse online, and that is what we’re doing the culture secretary has been working with senior black footballers. We are bringing forward legislation to ensure that those social media platforms that host this horrible material uh are fined for if they don’t take action, uh to tackle it and we’re legislating to ensure that happens. So the government is working with footballers working to tackle this and we will legislate uh to do so through the online homes building. This isn’t just criticism from your opponents uh baroness varsity, who is a tory peer retweeted, prissy, patel’s tweet, where pretty patel said she was disgusted at the racism and baroness varsity said pretty. We as a government as conservatives, need to think about our role in feeding this culture in our country. If we whistle and the dog reacts, we can’t be shocked if it barks and bites it’s time to stop the culture wars at a feeding. Division, dog whistles, win votes, but destroy nations. I mean she’s, absolutely right isn’t! She in the government needs to have a look at itself. Well, that’s. Why we’re legislating to to tackle this? I think one of the the great things about the euros was how it works. Farsi is not talking about the responsibility of uh the government when it comes to social media companies. Talking about the kind of messages you send out, well, that’s it and that’s.
What the prime minister addressed yesterday, where apprentice was asked about this at the press conference susana as as you know, and was very clear about the the importance of respect and respecting different people’s positions, but ultimately tackling this scourge of racism and that’s. What the government is working with black footballers to do the social media platforms need to act to stop uh being enablers of this sort of racist abuse, and this is something that unites the country wants to see action uh to tackle this, the home secretary herself has Campaigned throughout her life to tackle racism, she herself has been the victim of the most appalling online embarrassment. You’Ve said that i mean we know that sorry, but you are repeating together. I’M. Sorry, sorry, i said, but you are repeating your point and we accept that um. We know that she’s been abused racially that that’s that’s on the record. Can we just move from the social media platforms issue to the individuals who actually posted these disgusting messages? We don’t know how many maybe hundreds, maybe thousands, hopefully we’ll, find out um. There is a growing clamor in this country, it’s represented in the media and in and in phone in radio programs, that the people want to see those who sent those messages prosecuted and many of them think they should go to jail. Are you working with the metropolitan police to make sure that they really do chase down the individuals who sent these messages? Yes, we are, and and where the law has been broken, then it’s important that uh the action is taken.
The cps will will uh look at the evidence that is presented by the police, uh and the police. Uh are looking at that uh in order gathering that information, but we also need more action from the social media platforms themselves and, and that is why uh we’re taking the action we are. But i think one of the defining features of the euros was how it brought the country together how the england football team represented the very best of our country. I think so many of us have been shocked by the abuse that a number of the footballers have suffered, and i think this is something that unites us, that we should come together to condemn uh, to work to stamp out to ensure that the platforms that enable This uh are not uh continuing to do so and, as you say where uh people have acted illegally, then the full force of the law should be felt and we’re working to see. Uh stephen: when does the online harms bill, come into effect, uh that will come into effect uh next year, um and we’re working. So i mean this is what this abuse is happening today. This abuse is happening online right now. How is it taking so long for the government with all the strength and power that you have to not be able to instruct the social media companies to be taking this stuff down immediately, adjusting their algorithms, forcing people’s anonymous accounts to close down? Why are we waiting until next year? Well, that’s for the passage of the legislation and and the way parliament works, susana passage of legislation and then getting royal ascent does take time because it you know when you pass legislation, there’s various aspects that need to be considered.
That needs to be invaded by members online abuse. Didn’T start today they did it. The point you’re making is is with respect to slightly different one, which is, is the government taking action in parallel with the social media companies to look at things, as you say, like the algorithms? Is it, as richard said, working with the police to ensure that they have the resources to to go after those uh where offenses have taken place and ensure that evidence is gathered that is presented to the cps? Absolutely so we are doing those things. What i was referring to was in parallel. We are looking to legislate through the online harms bill so that financial penalties can be imposed on those companies if they fail to act. But we are in parallel to that working with them to look at those algorithms. To put pressure on them uh to work with the footballers that have been most affected by this abuse, because this is something that we all want to see stopped. It is something that unites us uh. I think all of your viewers have been shocked by the abuse that we’ve seen uh and it’s, something that brings us together. We want to see it what’s your point about and that’s what we’re doing. We do obviously take a point about do parliamentary process frustrating as that may be um. I just wonder if you could be using the fact that this bill in the end will will hopefully make it onto the statute books at some point next year.
Right now, as leverage with the companies that you could actually be, you could be saying to them. You think this is tough. It could be a lot tougher start making the changes ahead of the legislation, because the problem is, as suzanna just said to you is here and now so start making the changes now ahead of legislation 100 richard and that’s, exactly what we’re doing so to be clear. That’S, why i said it’s in parallel, so we are legislating. There is a parliamentary scrutiny process around that, as as you rightly accept uh, but in parallel, because that sort of damocles is there that will have punitive financial penalties for the firms if they don’t act. That is exactly, as you say why we’re working with those companies now to put pressure on is why we’re working with the football authorities as well with uh footballers, the culture secretary, has met uh senior black footballers to discuss this to discuss the action that been taken And oliver dowden, as the coaching minister is working on this now to ensure action is taken now in parallel to the legislation we’re bringing forward just before we let you go um. The sage committee says there could be 1 000 hospital admissions every day in the wake of lifting of all the restrictions. Are you going to reconsider lifting, for instance, the rule on mask wearing indoors? Well, the four tests susanna have been met so that’s. Why the legal restrictions are being lifted, but you’re right? We still need to be cautious.
We need to learn to live with the virus and there will be circumstances, as the guidance makes clear where we will recommend to people that they should continue to wear a mask. For example, if they’re in a very busy place, if there were people, they don’t normally mix with perhaps on a commuter train, that’s particularly crowded, for example, but at the same time the guidance allows, rather than it being the law that discretion so that, if you’re on A train at a time which is off peak and there’s very few other people. Then it shouldn’t be a requirement that you wear. Ms, you reserve the right to reintroduce those legal restrictions in the autumn. I mean very noticeably we’re no longer hearing that these are irreversible. Well, the the key reason why the legal restrictions were able to lift is because of the deployment of the vaccine and the extra four week delay before moving to step. Four and lifting those legal restrictions enabled us to deliver an extra 7 million vaccines, so that does create that war that enables us to meet the four tests that we set out and, of course, the legal restrictions themselves is a very draconian step. Often people were concerned about using the law in terms of that impact on their people again in the autumn. If the hospitalizations get out of control well throughout the prime minister, uh has shown that we will follow the science and we’ll consider the evidence.
But the key difference now is that with the vaccines we have that vaccine wall, but at the same time we’ve got to learn to live with the virus and therefore the guidance will might clear. There will be certain circumstances where it is appropriate to continue uh to wear a face mask but there’s no perfect time to lift these restrictions. So the chief medical officer set out doing so now, with the summer weather, with the school holidays uh with the extra vaccines uh that that four week delay has enabled means that now is the best time to do this, but there’s no perfect time all right. Mr barkley, thank you for your time.