Dominic Raab has been torn apart on Twitter after saying he would only take a knee for the Queen. It comes as the death in Minneapolis of a black man, George Floyd, after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes has sparked protests around the world, with many demonstrators kneeling in streets and squares to protest against racism. The position was first taken by National Football League player Colin Kaepernick during the playing of the U.S. national anthem to call attention to racial injustice, and has been adopted by many sports players since.
Speaking to talkRADIO, Mr Raab said: “I understand this sense of frustration and the Black Lives Matter movement.
“I’ve got to say on this ‘taking the knee’ thing, which I don’t know, maybe it’s got a broader history but it seems to be taken from the Game of Thrones.
“It feels to me like a symbol of subjugation and subordination rather than one of liberation and emancipation.
“But I understand people feel differently about it so it’s a matter of personal choice.”
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He added: “I’d take a knee for two people, the Queen and the missus when I asked her to marry me.”
Mr Raab later tried to clarify his remarks, saying he had “full respect” for the Black Lives Matter movement.
He wrote on Twitter: “If people wish to take a knee, that’s their choice and I respect it. We all need to come together to tackle any discrimination and social injustice.”
A clip of Raab’s interview attracted 1.5 million views on Twitter within hours of it being posted and opposition lawmakers were highly critical of his words.
David Lammy, the justice spokesman for the Labour Party and a longtime black rights campaigner, said on Twitter: “This is not just insulting to the Black Lives Matter movement, it is deeply embarrassing for Dominic Raab.
“He is supposed to be the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom.”
Labour former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott wrote: “Taking the knee began in 2016 with American athletes refusing to stand for US national anthem.
“They were protesting police brutality and racism. But Dominic Raab thinks it comes from Game of Thrones!!!”
More to follow…