'For 20 years protesters could not remove the statue democratically' - Labour MP on why protesters pulled down slaver

Labour MP for Wigan Lisa Nandy has told ITV of the frustrations the public have faced when trying to democratically remove statues which hark back to the UK's links to slavery and imperialism.

Speaking on the Peston Show about the toppling of the statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol, the shadow foreign secretary said: "Why was that statue removed the way it was?

"Because for 20 years they couldn't reach a consensus and couldn't get anything done."

She said the public has called for change, but a lack of response from those in power highlighted the issue.

Ms Nandy said: "The truth is we should be having a real debate about who we celebrate and the values we reflect as a country and we should be able to remove statues by democratic means and erect new ones.

"But here is the thing, why was that statue removed in the way that it was removed?

"Because for 20 years, protesters and campaigners had used every democratic lever at their disposal - petitions, meetings, protests, trying to get elected politicians to act and they couldn't reach a consensus and they couldn't get anything done."

The statue of slave trader Edward Colston which was torn down and thrown into a river in Bristol. Credit: PA

Ms Nandy continued: "Now this is reflective of what has happened to people of colour in this country and across the world for a very long time.

"We've had seven reviews into racial discrimination in this country in the last three years alone and very few of those recommendations have actually been acted on - that is why people are so frustrated and that is the question we should be asking ourselves is why is it so difficult so so many people to be heard and pull the democratic levers to see the change that they need."

Ms Nandy said: "I think there isn't really anyone in Britain, certainly not many people, who think we should be celebrating slavery and people involved in the slave trade in this day and age and I think there is grounds for consensus on this."

Also on Peston was Tory MP for Haltemprice and Howden, David Davis agreed that statues of those involved in the slave trade were wrong, but said: "I do feel that they are over-doing it when they take Gladstone out when his father made money from slaves", before adding: "There's got to be balances here."

Lisa Nandy hits back at David Davis over his comments on not looking at statues. Credit: ITV Peston

Ms Nandy also hit back at Mr Davis over his comments: "Truth be told, I walk past statues everyday and don't look at any of them."

She said: "I know David but your ancestors probably weren't enslaved and there is a level of pain here."

There has been some argument over the removal of the statue of Colston, with police in Bristol saying they will treat its being pulled down as criminal damage.

However, Labour MP for Brent Central, Dawn Butler, said she could understand why demonstrators did what they did.

"I don't think they were completely wrong, I think the activists have been fighting for many years, probably over a decade to get the statue removed and for the statue to be put into a museum and that didn't happen so they made it happen and I don't think they were completely wrong."

When asked about the significance of this movement, rapper Tinchy Stryder said: "I wouldn't say this feels different, it's just a new timeline and people are online more so things get captured more."

Dawn Butler tells Robert Peston she does not think the activists in Bristol were completely wrong. Credit: ITV Peston

The British rapper added: "It doesn't feel like anybody is trying to step back and I don't think they should... it's not a trend, this is real life issues."

Ms Butler added: "Ultimately, if we want to ensure that this struggle doesn't carry on we have dismantle the systemic racial barriers that exist.

"It exists in every single workplace, the next stage is very uncomfortable and we cannot back down from those conversations if we want to see lasting change."

Mr Davis, told ITV News' Political Editor Robert Peston he doesn't think the government is yet in the right place for tackling the coronavirus pandemic and criticised what he said was a slow start from the government in terms of testing.

David Davis compares the UK tackling coronavirus strategy to the US. Credit: PA

When asked about the public's trust in the government and how it has reduced since the start of the year, Mr Davis said the government needed to concede when mistakes are made: "It's a course of wisdom, if you're pretending you can get everything right."

Ms Butler also criticised the government's response to the virus outbreak.

She said: "We were still behind other countries and we could have learnt from their experiment."

Ms Butler said that the government were quite "arrogant" before adding that: "The government is still pretending that they are getting everything right when that's not the case."

Tory MP David Davis is critical of the government's handling of the coronavirus outbreak. Credit: ITV Peston Show

Mr Davis, who was the former Brexit Secretary when Theresa May was prime minister told Robert Peston that "we will get a Brexit deal".

He said: "They take it to the 11th hour, we will get a deal."

"Quite frankly it's too harmful to both sides to not have a deal and unfortunately you have to go to the brink to get a deal."

He added that there would be an additional cost and it would effect the British economy if they deferred or delayed the deal again.

He said: "Look back at the last time where we deferred in the entire period to the Brexit and there was uncertainty, the same would happen here and there would be extra costs.

"We know what we want, as they said it's oven ready, Barnier is not working on anything else, we will get a deal."