While the right-leaning part of our free and fearless press reacts with outrage at any suggestion that they are indulging in selective reportage of racism by restricting themselves to claims of ant-Semitism in the Labour Party, the Tories are, by complete coincidence you understand, getting away with allowing a racist who was caught in the act back into the party without any apparent sanction.
Anne Marie Morris MP
I’m also sure that Parliamentary arithmetic has had no influence, honestly, on returning the whip to Anne Marie Morris, who represents Newton Abbot, who was recorded saying of Britain’s exit from the EU “Now I’m sure there will be many people who’ll challenge that, but my response and my request is look at the detail, it isn’t all doom and gloom. Now we get to the real nigger in the woodpile, which is, in two years what happens if there is no deal?” The chorus of condemnation was long and loud.
Dawn Butler MP
Theresa May stated that “I was shocked to hear of these remarks, which are completely unacceptable … I immediately asked the chief whip to suspend the party whip. Language like this has absolutely no place in politics or in today’s society”. Tory MPs expressing their disgust at Ms Morris’ remarks included Heidi Allen, who said an apology was not enough.
That was last July; by December, all was changed and Ms Morris was readmitted to the Tory fold. The Guardian observed that “the Conservatives decided to restore the whip after just five months. They did so at a time when the government is extremely reliant on its MPs turning up to vote, as it battles to avoid defeats in the House of Commons over Brexit with a tiny majority in partnership with the Democratic Unionist party”.
But what sanction had been placed upon Ms Morris? There was no apparent sign of her having been so much as reprimanded for her remarks. It was as if she had been given nothing more than a slap on the wrist and let back in, no more questions asked. Well, one person not happy at that prospect is Labour’s equalities spokesperson Dawn Butler.
Ms Butler, who represents Brent Central, has written to Theresa May, telling “I was reminded that you have not made an updated statement. When you announced the suspension, you said you were ‘shocked by the completely unacceptable language … language like this has absolutely no place in politics or in public society’”.
Bob Blackman MP - no sanction at all
She has also made the contents of her letter to the PM public, with the comment “This is my second letter to the Prime Minister. You must not hide the reasons why you secretly reinstated the whip after this horrendous incident took place @theresa_may. We must be given your reasons”. Also, in response to her Tweet, Miqdaad Versi of the Muslim Council of Britain has mentioned the recent behaviour of Tory MP Bob Blackman.
Blackman endorsed a campaign to use the racism of the Indian sub-continent to gain votes. He hosted a known hate preacher at the House of Commons. He shared Islamophobic material on Facebook. Yet he, too, has experienced no sanction.
Anyone would think the Tories aren’t taking racism seriously. I’ll just leave that one there.