Academic who attacked Priti Patel is “canceled” by Home Office because she is prevented from giving a lecture
- Cambridge scholar was barred from speaking at Home Office after making offensive remarks about Priti Patel
- Professor Priyamvada Gopal, 53, was supposed to express her views on departmental policies related to colonial history
- One of Professor Gopal’s old tweets claimed Home Secretary Miss Patel had “anti-black attitudes” typical of Indians living in East Africa
A left-wing Cambridge scholar has been barred from giving a Home Office lecture after making offensive remarks about Priti Patel.
Professor Priyamvada Gopal, 53, was invited to speak to government officials this week about her view that the department’s policies are linked to colonial history.
But the academic, who is a professor of post-colonial studies at the university’s English faculty, said her invitation was quickly canceled.
It comes after one of her old tweets was revealed in which she claimed Home Secretary Miss Patel had “anti-black attitudes” typical of Indians living in East Africa.
The tweet said: “Priti Patel also recalls that many Asians in British Africa had fiercely anti-black attitudes and were used by colonial administrations to hold black populations in their place. An attitude that she brings to the government.
Professor Priyamvada Gopal has been invited to speak to government officials this week about her view that the ministry’s policies are linked to colonial history. But the academic, who is a professor of post-colonial studies at the university’s English faculty, said his invitation was canceled at short notice.
One of Professor Priyamvada Gopal’s old tweets was revealed in which she claimed Home Secretary Miss Patel had “anti-black attitudes” typical of Indians living in East Africa
Although Miss Patel was born in London, her Indian parents previously lived in Uganda and members of her extended family were forcibly removed from the country during the anti-Asia purge of dictator Idi Amin in 1972.
The post, which was released in February this year and is still publicly available, resurfaced earlier this week on Guido Fawkes’ website.
The Home Ministry adviser’s cancellation message made no mention of the tweet, but said it was due to “unforeseen circumstances.”
In a statement on his blog, Professor Gopal said his tweet was “far from a racist statement”.
She added: “My criticisms of the current hawkish interior minister and his participation in the fight against black are also in the public domain. I felt that criticism of politicians was allowed in a democracy.
Last night, Professor Gopal appealed to Michelle Donelan, the university minister, claiming that her freedom of expression had been restricted. The request appeared to refer to the government’s new free speech bill, which will end “non-platforms” in universities.
She asked the minister on Twitter: “I had a short-term routine speech pledge canceled following pressure from a partisan campaign group. I know and deeply believe that you care about these egregious violations of academic freedom. Please help? ‘
A government spokesperson said last night: “The public service is a diverse employer and it is vitally important that we celebrate Black History Month to ensure that our public service is representative of the communities that we we serve.
“As a result of reviewing lessons learned from Windrush, we are committed to being open to challenges and external engagement and our events draw on a range of stakeholders. Due diligence checks are always carried out on all speakers and it is important to note that the speakers who attend these events are not always representative of the government’s point of view. ‘