Foreign secretary Dominic Raab and shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald clashed over racism on live TV following the special episode of BBC’s Question Time in Sheffield on Friday night.
The tense exchange, broadcast on Sky News, showed the two men arguing over their parties’ records on racism.
It followed the special episode of Question Time which saw leaders of the four main parties grilled by members of the public and included Boris Johnson defending his right to make comments that are deemed offensive and Jeremy Corbyn insisting he will remain ‘neutral’ in a second Brexit referendum.
After conducting a short interview with Sky News about the debate, Mr Raab and Mr McDonald continued their own heated argument, appearing to square up to each other while others in the room look on.
The cameras are still rolling @DominicRaab & @AndyMcDonaldMP 🎥 ...
The Foreign Secretary and shadow Transport Secretary break out in a heated argument live on air 😬 #GE2019
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— Sky News (@SkyNews) November 22, 2019
Mr McDonald called Mr Raab out on the Conservatives’ failure to hold an inquiry into Islamophobia, while the Foreign Secretary criticised Labour’s anti-Semitism record.
On the footage, McDonald is heard saying: “You’re actually putting it into the long grass, you’re refusing to do it … listen to Baroness Warsi, she’s telling you what to do about it. You should be doing it.”
Mr Raab retorts: “Two parties in this country’s history have been investigated by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission – Labour under Corbyn and the BNP. Answer that.”
He then walks away.
Speaking later on BBC Newsnight, Mr McDonald said Labour was “happy” to be subject to an inquiry into anti-Semitism because its efforts to tackle the issue could be “externally validated”.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission launched an investigation into anti-Semitism in the party “after receiving a number of complaints about allegations”.
Mr McDonald added: “We’re happy that EHRC are looking into these matters because if they can look at our processes and find any room for improvement then we want to hear from them.
“We think we’ve taken many steps including the doubling of staff, the appointing of internal counsel, and speeding up the processing of complaints.
“So we’ve done an awful lot about this but we are very happy to have that externally validated and looked into by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, and really that’s why we set it up in the first instance so they could carry out these functions.”
He also suggested the commission should look into complaints over Islamophobia in the Tory party.
He added: “Hopefully the Conservative Party will take the warnings from Baroness Warsi and set up their inquiry into Islamophobia and if necessary the EHRC may want to look there as well.
“It’s critically important that we remove all forms of prejudice out of political life and wider society.”