David Lammy calls Boris Johnson's tweets about Churchill 'a deflection'

The statue of former British prime minister Winston Churchill is cleaned in Parliament Square, central London on June 8, 2020, after being defaced, with the words (Churchill) "was a racist" written on it's base by protesters at a demonstration on June 7, 2020, organised to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. - Most marches at the weekend were peaceful but there were flashes of violence, including in London, where the statue of World War II leader Winston Churchill in Parliament Square was defaced. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

David Lammy has criticised Boris Johnson over the number of tweets he wrote about the statue of Winston Churchill, calling the prime minister's social media posts "a deflection".

Speaking to the BBC's Andrew Marr Show,the shadow justice secretary said the prime minister had failed to treat other issues with the same seriousness.

Lammy noted that Johnson had sent out a series of tweets on the subject of statues on Friday after Churchill's memorial was daubed with the words "was a racist" earlier this week.

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Police clash with far-right demonstrators in London
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 13: An activist argues with a police officer on Parliament Street on June 13, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. Following a social media post by the far-right activist known as Tommy Robinson, members of far-right linked groups have gathered around statues in London. Several statues in the UK have been targeted by Black Lives Matter protesters for their links to racism and the slave trade (Photo by Kate Green/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Protesters from the Democratic Football Lads Alliance clash with people taking part in a Black Lives Matter protest in Parliament Square, London.
Protesters from the Democratic Football Lads Alliance clash with people taking part in a Black Lives Matter protest in Parliament Square, London.
Police are confronted by protesters in Whitehall near Parliament Square, London, during a protest by the Democratic Football Lads Alliance against a Black Lives Matter protest.
Police are confronted by protesters in Whitehall near Parliament Square, London, during a protest by the Democratic Football Lads Alliance against a Black Lives Matter protest.
Police escort a photographer with blood on their face outside the Houses of Parliament in London, during a protest by the Democratic Football Lads Alliance against a Black Lives Matter protest.
Police escort a photographer with blood on their face outside the Houses of Parliament in London, during a protest by the Democratic Football Lads Alliance against a Black Lives Matter protest.
Members of far-right Football Lads Alliance hold a banner during a counter protest in Parliament Square, central London, Saturday, June 13, 2020. British police have imposed strict restrictions on groups planning to protest in London Saturday in a bid to avoid violent clashes between protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as far-right groups.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Members of far-right Football Lads Alliance hold a British flag in front of a protective covering surrounding the statue of former British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill in Parliament Square, central London, Saturday, June 13, 2020. British police have imposed strict restrictions on groups planning to protest in London Saturday in a bid to avoid violent clashes between protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as far-right groups.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
A member of a far-right group that climbed on a pole chants slogans along Whitehall, in central London, Saturday, June 13, 2020. British police have imposed strict restrictions on groups planning to protest in London Saturday in a bid to avoid violent clashes between protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as far-right groups.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 13: Activists from far-right linked groups chant as they face police officers in Trafalgar Square on June 13, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. Following a social media post by the far-right activist known as Tommy Robinson, members of far-right linked groups have gathered around statues in London. Several statues in the UK have been targeted by Black Lives Matter protesters for their links to racism and the slave trade. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 13: Activists from far-right linked groups face police officers in Trafalgar Square on June 13, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. Following a social media post by the far-right activist known as Tommy Robinson, members of far-right linked groups have gathered around statues in London. Several statues in the UK have been targeted by Black Lives Matter protesters for their links to racism and the slave trade. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
A masked far-right protester walks as British police officers in riot gear escort him and others away in central London, as groups gather to counter-protest against a Black Lives Matter demonstration, Saturday, June 13, 2020. British police have imposed strict restrictions on groups planning to protest in London Saturday in a bid to avoid violent clashes between protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as far-right groups.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
A far-right protester gestures towards British police officers in riot gear at Trafalgar Square in central London, as groups gather to counter-protest against a Black Lives Matter demonstration, Saturday, June 13, 2020. British police have imposed strict restrictions on groups planning to protest in London Saturday in a bid to avoid violent clashes between protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as far-right groups.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Far-right protesters gesture as they confront British police officers at Trafalgar Square in central London, during a counter-protest against a Black Lives Matter demonstration, Saturday, June 13, 2020. British police have imposed strict restrictions on groups planning to protest in London Saturday in a bid to avoid violent clashes between protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as far-right groups.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
A protester is detained by police near Westminster Abbey in London.
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"Boris Johnson sent out eight tweets, I think it was, on Friday on Winston Churchill and statues," Lammy said.

"He's never tweeted eight times in a day on coronavirus, he's never tweeted eight times in a day on the Windrush review or what he's going to do about it, or on the review that David Cameron asked me to do on disproportionality in the criminal justice system and what he's going to do about it.

"This feels to me like a bit of a deflection. Let's get to the action, let's have some substance, let's do something about these historic injustices that still exist in our country."

Lammy also called on the government to "deal with the substance" around racism and not focus on individual ministers' experiences of racism.

"We still only have in this country 1% of police officers that are black, 1% of judges that are black, 51% of (those in) our young offender institutions are from black, Asian, or minority ethnic backgrounds, languishing in those young offenders' prisons.

"Those are the serious issues that people want the government to deal with. Not statues, not Priti Patel, deal with the problems."

The prime minister tweeted on Friday that although Churchill held opinions that were "unacceptable to us today" he had still saved Britain from "fascist and racist tyranny".

His defence of the wartime prime minister came after Churchill's statue was daubed with the words "was a racist" last weekend by protesters attending a Black Lives Matter march.

The statue in London's Parliament Square was then sealed in a protective box ahead of further protests this weekend.

In his twitter thread, Johnson said monuments like Churchill's were put up by previous generations as he urged people to "stay away" from demonstrations amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"We cannot try to edit or censor our past," he wrote of moves to remove tributes to historical figures.

"We cannot pretend to have a different history."

- This article first appeared on Yahoo

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