By Lucas Davies-Herbst in Britain:
Tuesday 11th July 2017
A TORY MP was recorded using the racist term “nigger” yesterday during a speech about Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.
Anne Marie Morris, who represents Newton Abbot, was joined by fellow Tory MPs John Redwood and Bill Cash in a London panel discussion about the future of Brexit organised by the right-wing think tank Politeia.
At the exclusive East India Club in Westminster, Ms Morris was discussing the prospect of Britain leaving the EU without a deal when she called it a “real nigger in the woodpile.”
This racist expression, referring to hidden trouble, originates with 19th century slave-owners in the south of the USA. Their slaves tried to flee slavery to the northern states or Canada while hiding under woodpiles in trains. That was, obviously, trouble for the slave-owners.
According to Wikipedia, this 1860 cartoon, now in the US Library of Congress, is an anti-abolitionist parody by the then pro-slavery Democratic party of Republican efforts to play down the antislavery plank in their 1860 presidential election platform. Horace Greeley, the prominent New York publicist of the party, stands at left reassuring a man identified as “Young America.”
“I assure you my friend,” he says, “that you can safely vote our ticket, for we have no connection with the Abolition party, but our Platform is composed entirely of rails, split by our Candidate.” Young America, who represents the Democrats, points insistently toward the right, where candidate Abraham Lincoln sits atop a makeshift construction made of rails marked “Republican Platform,” which imprisons an African American man. He tells Greeley, “It’s no use old fellow! you can’t pull that wool over my eyes for I can see ‘the Nigger’ peeping through the rails.
Meanwhile, Lincoln, who had worked as a labourer splitting wooden rails as a young man, reflects, “Little did I think when I split these rails that they would be the means of elevating me to my present position.”
The remark, which passed without protest from her fellow panelists or the audience, was captured on a recording by news website the Huffington Post.
The Tories suspended the whip from Ms Morris late yesterday, but Labour said she should be kicked out completely.
Labour co-national campaign co-ordinator Andrew Gwynne condemned the comment as “outrageous and totally unacceptable.”
He added: “While the Conservative Party has tabled a debate on Wednesday to apparently discuss and condemn abuse of candidates in the general election, these comments prove their hypocrisy.
“Theresa May once spoke about changing the Tories’ ‘nasty party’ tag. If she’s serious about that, she will admit it’s not enough for the Tories to ‘investigate’ and will apologise and act immediately.
“If that means withdrawing the whip, that’s what they should do.”
Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, for her part, tweeted: “No place in our politics for racism, full stop.”
Following the release of the recording, Ms Morris said her comment had been “entirely unintentional” and that she apologised “unreservedly for any offence caused.”
A Conservative Party spokesperson said: “We are aware of these reports. This kind of language is completely unacceptable and we are urgently investigating.”
It is unclear at this stage how far the party will go in its investigation.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson faced no action after he referred to black people as “piccaninnies” with “watermelon smiles” in a 2002 column published in the Daily Telegraph.
Ms Morris’s partner and electoral agent Roger Kendrick was also embroiled in racially charged scandal recently, when he claimed: “The crisis in education was due entirely to non-British born immigrants and their high birth rates,” during general election hustings in Newton Abbot earlier this year.