Rishi Sunak ‘does not think Britain is a racist country’, Downing Street has said following Trevor Noah’s controversial claim there had been a racist backlash to him becoming Prime Minister.
In a video posted on Twitter from his US satirical news program The Daily Show, presenter and comedian Noah alleged there were people saying ‘now the Indians are going to take over Great Britain’.
It led to accusations form UK that he was inventing a racist backlash against Sunak’s appointment.
Addressing Noah’s comments, a Downing Street spokeswoman said: ‘I’ve not asked the Prime Minister about that. But you heard the words in the House [of Commons] on Wednesday with regard to the Prime Minister and you’ve also seen words from other world leaders and reaction to his appointment as Prime Minister.’
When asked whether Mr Sunak believes Britain is a racist country, the spokeswoman added: ‘No, he doesn’t.’
Former chancellor and health secretary Mr Javid also responded to Noah’s claims reshared the clip and wrote: ‘Simply wrong. A narrative catered to his audience, at a cost of being completely detached from reality.
‘Britain is the most successful multiracial democracy on earth and proud of this historic achievement.’
Mr Sunak is also the UK’s first ever Hindu Prime Minister. His grandparents migrated to the UK in the 1960s and they are all from India, bar his maternal grandmother, who was born in Africa, making him of British-Asian heritage.
Noah, a South African native, said ‘seeing the backlash’ over Mr Sunak’s promotion ‘was one of the more telling things about how people view the role that they or their people have played in history’.
Meanwhile, Talk TV’s Mike Graham was more blunt, writing: ‘You do wonder if Americans are the thickest people on the planet.’
Viewers of the show were also unimpressed, as one tweeted: ‘There’s been virtually no backlash to the appointment of an Indian man as PM in Britain (other than the fact the process was an undemocratic joke). But his race hasn’t been brought up in the negative by anyone.
‘American TV and American audiences do an awful lot of projecting.’
Another fan wrote: ‘I love @Trevornoah but this is not true by any stretch of the imagination.
‘Across the broad spectrum of British society people are genuinely proud that a person of South Asian descent is PM.’
MailOnline has contacted representatives for Noah for comment.
In the video, Noah added that people needn’t fear of anyone ‘taking over’ and repeating colonial horrors, adding: ‘Go to all these colonies around the world, go to all the places where the British ruled, go to South Africa or wherever it is… unless people are being delusional, people aren’t turning on anybody.
‘It’s not like Barack Obama became president and said: ”Alright, where are the white people? Time to show them what’s up!” Didn’t happen.
‘People are complaining saying: ”I can’t believe Rishi Sunak is… you’ve got this Indian man who is…’ yo, King Charles is still the king of Jamaica… think about that for a second.
‘What do you think is going to happen? You’re just giving yourself away… it’s amazing when people say the quiet part out loud.’
He added: ‘People need to ask themselves that question… why are you afraid of power shifting to another gender or another race?’
Other Twitter users branded Noah ‘out of touch’ with the reality of UK politics, while another wrote: ‘Could it be that @Trevornoah is projecting the US onto somewhere which isn’t the US again?…
‘While some small pockets made racist comments this isn’t true of the UK by any stretch of the imagination. Can I recommend speaking to some Brits.’
Noah’s segment was inspired by a telephone call from an LBC Radio listener last week, who suggested Mr Sunak ‘doesn’t love England’ and ‘isn’t even British in most people’s opinion.’
The caller claimed to be a Conservative Party member when he called into host Sangita Myska’s show.
Speaking on Sunday, before Mr Sunak won the race to become PM, the caller said: ‘Rishi’s not gonna win it. Rishi’s not even British, in most people’s opinion. He’s got American allegiance, his family’s American. They’re Indian business people. He’ll go live in America no doubt. He doesn’t love England like Boris does.’
When Ms Myska insisted Mr Sunak was born in Southampton, making him British, he added: ‘Lots of people are, half of al-Qaeda are British citizens. I’m just saying having a British passport doesn’t mean you’re a true English patriot who loves England.’
But after a Noah fan shared a clip of the call in response to the comedian’s video, Twitter users insisted it did not represent the view of any large number of people.
One wrote: ‘You do realize a few isolated cases doesn’t make a widespread backlash don’t you? If you search hard enough you will find someone that espouses any view you can think of.’
Another said: ‘In a population of 68 million it’s easy to find these examples. The reality is the overwhelming majority of Brits don’t think like this.’
It comes after a previous segment in Noah’s show by comedian Ronny Chieng also faced criticism from British Indian/Asian viewers this week.
In a 45-second skit discussing Mr Sunak, Chieng declared that ‘Indians are not Asians’, adding: ‘If this guy is Asian, how come when he became prime minister I felt absolutely nothing?’
He added: ‘I love how Indians try to have it both ways, like being Indian AND Asian, pick a lane, okay?’
Sunder Katwala, director of UK immigration charity British Future, wrote in response online: ‘This is just rude and silly. Of course, he identifies as British Asian and British Indian, and that is how he is seen by British Indians, British Asians and other British people. If America uses terms differently, that’s fine for America.’