‘Quitter’ MPs embroiled in racism storm within first few hours of group’s existence
The group of ‘quitter’ MPs who announced their departure from the Labour Party this morning – supposedly over Brexit and racism – managed to embroil itself in a racism storm within an hour or two of the end of its ‘launch’ press conference.
Blairite MP Angela Smith appeared on the BBC’s Politics Live programme – and made a comment about BAME people that drew an astonished reaction from fellow guests:
The comment sparked instant outrage – and derision – on social media.
The incident spawned a hashtag, #FunnyTinge – and a lot of bitingly sharp memes leaving no room for doubt whatever about what many thought of Ms Smith and her comment:
Smith subsequently issued a statement that she ‘misspoke’ and was very sorry, but that appeared to cut little ice with people of colour:
But for the many – probably the only thing about today’s launch that could be said to be ‘for the many’ – people unsatisfied with the apology, the incident raised the question of what procedure the new group has in place for dealing with complaints of racism and other wrongdoings.
The answer appears to be: none at all.
The SKWAWKBOX wrote to each of the other six MPs involved and asked:
- What is the complaints process for your new ‘independent group’? A lot of people wish to lodge a complaint about your colleague Ms Smith’s racist statement that BAME people are a ‘funny tint’ on BBC TV today.
- please advise whether you will be reporting complaint statistics weekly. As Ms Smith demanded that at PLP meetings, it would seem the minimum standard.
Angela Smith was among MPs who expected that Labour general secretary – who doesn’t report to MPs at all – should report back to them weekly on complaints about Labour members, so surely the new group would have built such essential things into its procedures, given the lengthy build-up to their ‘launch’/flounce.
Sadly, no reply was received from any of them by the time of publication, except their parliamentary auto-responses. So it seems not – and so far none of her fellow ‘quitters’ even appear to have condemned her comment.
The irony, hypocrisy – and incompetence – of the seven could scarcely be clearer. What are these seven doing in politics at all, let alone having cluttered up the Labour Party at parliamentary level for years, is hard to fathom.
The SKWAWKBOX needs your support. This blog is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal or here for a monthly donation via GoCardless. Thanks for your solidarity so this blog can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.
If you wish to reblog this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.