Tory MPs Kemi Badenoch and James Cleverly have written to Jeremy Corbyn calling on him to investigate Emma Dent Coad and withdraw the whip:
We write to you as former members of the London Assembly, friends and colleagues of Shaun Bailey AM, and Members of Parliament.
The comments made by Ms Dent Coad in relation to Mr Bailey are unacceptable in any circumstance and particularly so from an elected representative. Your failure to condemn her comments is both disappointing and concerning.
Your silence is disappointing because it gives the impression that you are comfortable with the comments Ms Dent Coad made. It is concerning because it reinforces our belief that there are too many people in the Labour Party who see Conservatives from BAME backgrounds as “traitors” and, therefore, legitimate targets for abuse.
During the 2017 general election campaign, you claimed that “only Labour can unlock the talent of BAME people” a claim that was as inaccurate as it was insulting. This claim also betrays a belief that BAME people should feel indebted to the Labour Party. Indeed, just last night another of your MPs, Clive Lewis, claimed that you can’t be a Conservative and tackle racism – once again inaccurate and insulting.
Ms Dent Coad’s comments were made on social media and raise a number of questions that must be urgently addressed:
* Will you condemn the comments made by Emma Dent Coad?
* Why was Ms Dent Coad selected as a parliamentary candidate given these comments were made publicly before her selection?
* Will you now investigate this matter and do you intend to remove the whip from Ms Dent Coad during such an investigation?
Your party’s condescending attitude to BAME voters and candidates really must be addressed. Now is the time to do so.
Kemi Badenoch MP
James Cleverly MP
Kemi has also written an epic Twitter thread which Guido has reproduced below:
“I’m a black conservative. I don’t think every offensive comment is racism, but when I see real prejudice I have to call it out. Emma Dent Coad’s comments were profoundly distressing, and a toxic reminder of the struggle black people face daily in defeating stereotypes. The fact that she made them while an elected councillor is a disgrace. This is why it is still relevant to discuss today. The tragedy is that someone who holds these views is an MP, representing a sizeable black population, make no mistake, this is racism…
An assumption that there’s only one way to be black, and anyone who doesn’t conform is a “coconut” an “Uncle Tom” or a race traitor. It is a poisonous belief and destroys the lives of so many children. I once heard a black boy accuse another of “acting white”. Why? Because he wore glasses and liked reading. Imagine what it’s like being in a classroom where everyone thinks like that?
Where do such attitudes come from? From “Community leaders” like Ms Dent-Coad, who want to tell us what to think and how to behave. They haven’t given us permission to leave our ghettoes, be Conservative or make friends with posh white people. This was Shaun’s crime. This attitude traps many black children within imaginary boundaries they believe they aren’t allowed to cross. They end up living less than the very best lives they can.
I have read Clive Lewis’s awful remarks to Nimko Ali. Patronising and wrong-headed. Denying blacks a basic human right to support a party of their choosing. It’s the attitude I referred to in my conference speech -that you can’t be black and conservative. Emma Dent-Coad did NOT apologise for her offensive remarks, merely for Shaun being upset by them.
My message to young black people everywhere is please, please feel free to be who you want to be. Don’t let Labour’s stereotypes and low expectations hold you back and never let them treat you like black sheep who will always follow them.”
Well said. How will Labour respond?