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Labour frontbencher in row with Tory chairman after accusing black Cabinet members of 'selling their souls'

Labour frontbencher in row with Tory chairman after accusing black Cabinet members of 'selling their souls'
2 min read

A Labour frontbencher has become embroiled in a row with a senior member of Boris Johnson's new team after he accused black members of the Cabinet of "selling their souls" for a job.


Shadow Treasury minister Clive Lewis was branded "bitter" after he said non-white Cabinet members had decided to join a "racist" team under the new Prime Minister.

Mr Lewis told newly-promoted Conservative Party chairman James Cleverly on Twitter: "Genuine congratulations James. I mean it. I’m just sorry you & the other black members of that cabinet had to sell your souls & self-respect to get there."

He added: "You serve under a racist PM and sit next to a minister for equalities previously fired for the Windrush scandal."

But Mr Cleverly shot back as he accused the shadow minister of being "scared" of the new Prime Minister's team.

He tweeted at Mr Lewis: "Didn’t see this earlier, I’ve been in meetings. Busy being the Chairman of the Conservatives. 

"Really surprised that you’re so bitter about seeing more diversity in senior political positions. 

"Or are you guys just scared?"

The row came after Mr Johnson's team described his new-look top team as a "cabinet for modern Britain".

Eight out of 33 Cabinet positions are held by women, equating to around a quarter of all the top posts. 

Mr Johnson has also handed four full Cabinet roles to Tory MPs from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, with two further posts including Mr Cleverly's and Kwasi Kwarteng as business minister also attending the Cabinet.

That compares to just one BAME Cabinet minister in Mrs May's final senior team.

However, more than two-thirds (64%) of Mr Johnson's Cabinet attendees were privately-educated, the highest proportion of any government since John Major according to analysis by the Sutton Trust.

The educational charity's chairman Sir Peter Lampl said: "Social mobility – the potential for those to achieve success regardless of their background – remains low.

"Addressing this must be at the heart of our new prime minister’s tenure in Downing Street.

"The make-up of Johnson’s cabinet underlines once again how unevenly spread the opportunities are to enter the elites."

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