Excl: recording of Watson/Eling ally in ‘racist’ comment controversy

Sandwell councillor Bob Piper in new racism row

A West Midlands councillor closely allied to the right of the party has been caught up in a fresh racism controversy after a recording emerged of him telling an Asian candidate about the ‘disadvantages of being Asian’ and telling him that local voters would assume he is the ‘bastard son’ of an Asian ex-councillor.

Bob Piper has been involved in other race-related controversies. In 2006 he was heavily criticised after publishing an image of David Cameron as a ‘black and white minstrel’. Earlier this year, he faced trial for racially-aggravated behaviour after allegedly making a nazi salute to a local supporter of the right-wing ‘For Britain’ group and a local blogger, but the case ended in confusion when he was first said to have accepted a caution but then no caution was issued.

Now Cllr Piper, close to right-wing former council leader and Tom Watson ally Steve Eling, has become the subject of a complaint to the Labour Party for – among other things – ‘racist’ comments made at the beginning of April to an Asian council candidate about him and the Asian community.

The SKWAWKBOX has obtained a copy of a recording of the conversation – and the comments which form the subject of the racism complaint are reproduced below, with the voice of the candidate and the names of two other local Asian councillors edited out:

The SKWAWKBOX spoke to Cllr Piper about his comments. At first he claimed he did not remember making the comments, but when confronted with the recording and asked what other ‘disadvantages of being Asian’ were in his opinion, he did not deny that the voice was his but responded:

It just sounds a strange thing to have said, to be honest, if that’s me saying it. The only context I can imagine is that there is a danger that other people, in a racist manner, would exclude somebody because they’re Asian.

That’s the only thing I could imagine, but I can’t recall any such conversation, to be honest. As I say, that’s just not a context, that’s effectively saying the disadvantage [____] may have as an Asian councillor is that people would associate you with Mahboob Hussain. That’s not saying there’s anything that is a disadvantage as such to being Asian.

The recipient of Cllr Piper’s comments is understood to have made a formal complaint to the Labour Party.

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  1. The comments made by Bob Piper would sound racist to any reasonable person. His refusal to apologise for those racist comments compounds his offence.

    His response to Skwawkbox is clearly a blatant attempt to disassociate himself from his own racist comments.

    He significantly breaches the rules and values of the Labour party and should be immediately expelled.

  2. This isolated snippet of a recording is not grounds for concluding that a racist act was committed. In addition, the explanation he volunteers seems reasonable. The methodology of public trial online is flawed on this occasion and Skwawkbox should know better.

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