Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has said she does not plan “to charge out on a culture war battle,” as she criticised left-wing activists who have “hijacked” social media.
The politician, who went from a working-class background in Liverpool to become a bestselling author and Cabinet minister, also described negative reaction to her new role as “quite misogynistic.”
In her first TV interview since taking the job, she told the BBC:
“Sometimes I think we just need to tone down the condemnation and the judgment, and evaluate and engage a little bit more than we do. I think social media probably contributes a lot to this.
“People are afraid because of the amplification in the echo chambers of social media.”
Ms Dorries’ previous comments on the arts were revisited when she was given the culture brief during the reshuffle in September, particularly her 2017 lament at what she perceived as the impact of “left-wing snowflakes” on culture.
“Left wing snowflakes are killing comedy, tearing down historic statues, removing books from universities, dumbing down panto, removing Christ from Christmas and suppressing free speech. Sadly, it must be true, history does repeat itself. It will be music next.”
Last year she turned her attention to the BBC, describing it as favouring “strident, very left wing, often hypocritical and frequently patronising views that turn people away”.
She told BBC News that any such strident posts on social media are aimed at campaigners “on the left who have hijacked that space” rather than people who “do want to talk about these issues seriously”.
The politician also said the new round of funding from the Culture Recovery Fund, which sees almost 1,000 cultural organisations across the UK receive a share of a Government cash boost of more than £100 million, will help institutions “through the recovery period”.
Renowned institutions including the Bristol Old Vic, National Youth Theatre and English National Symphony Orchestra will receive support, while Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House receives the largest sum, with a grant of £1,288,643.
The English National Ballet in London and the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury also received hefty sums, being given £1,103,842 and £1,000,000 respectively.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said the money provided “lifelines” for organisations being supported by the fund for the first time, including regional theatres, local museums and independent cinemas.
The funding has been welcomed by celebrities including Dame Judi Dench, Clive Owen, Rebecca Hall and Mike Leigh.
The DCMS said £30 million would be paid to theatres to provide vital continuity support and keep doors open for pantos and other plays over the Christmas period.
Theatre organisations to benefit from the latest round of funding include the Royal Exchange Theatre Company, the Young Vic Company, the Theatre Royal in Bath, and North Devon Theatres.
The London Transport Museum, University of Warwick, and Y Not Festivals UK also received funding.
Musical charity the Military Wives Choirs, which next year celebrates its 10th anniversary, received a grant of £92,000.