Mr Kwarteng, the primary black MP to move a authorities division, additionally described the ripping down of statues as an “act of vandalism”.
Final 12 months a statue of the slave dealer Edward Colston was toppled throughout Black Lives Matter protests in Bristol.
Mr Kwarteng instructed the Political Considering with Nick Robinson podcast: “I believe you’ve received to grasp historical past and perceive that it’s very complicated and there are completely different arguments which can be introduced. And I’ve a plea to grasp the arguments and the context of the British empire.”
He added: “Even whenever you say the phrase ‘the British empire’, you’re speaking about one thing that lasted kind of 400 years and coated an enormous expanse of territory.
“So inside that point and geography there’s an enormous quantity of selection, completely different cultures and completely different time intervals and getting a sensitivity to that’s vastly necessary and I believe a whole lot of the controversy round Black Lives Matter and imperialism or colonialism has a really sort of cartoon-like view of what was taking place over centuries throughout 1 / 4 of the world.”
When it got here to the problem of statues, he mentioned: “I don’t suppose you’ll be able to simply rip down statues – I imply that’s unlawful and an act of vandalism.”
He additionally mentioned that the general public ought to be taught extra in regards to the empire.
“I don’t fairly perceive what decolonising the curriculum means. Is the implication that it’s a colonial relic and that you just’ve received to attempt to decolonise it? I’m saying the other – that you just’ve received to be taught extra about colonialism,” he mentioned. Mr Kwarteng additionally mentioned he personally halted a post-Brexit evaluate of employees’ rights and dealing practices when he was made enterprise secretary three weeks in the past.
“I don’t suppose the alternatives of Brexit are about whittling away employees’ rights or attempting to have a race to the underside or attempting to cut back wages,” he mentioned.
“Quite the opposite, lots of people in my constituency voted for Brexit due to a stagnation of wages.”