The fallout from yesterday’s Rupa Huq row seemingly didn’t stop Shadow Rail Minister Tan Dhesi from making similar eyebrow-raising comments on race in the Tory Party. At a fringe event, Dhesi accused Boris Johnson of “getting someone of Asian heritage to do his dirty work” for him. He also said he’d rather see a “white male” in Cabinet than Kwasi or Priti…
“You know, I’d much rather have a white male, who is caring, who’s compassionate, who wants an inclusive society, rather than having somebody like Priti Patel, who’s acting against the interests of the minority communities. I’d rather have somebody who cares about the communities that we live in rather than having someone like Kwasi Kwarteng who is going to gamble with our futures”
“As I said, the Prime Minister is getting somebody of Asian heritage to do his dirty work and that’s why there are accusations of tokenism from so many within the British Asian community”.
Guido doesn’t consider Tan’s comments to be half as bad as Rupa Huq’s. His quote about Boris having an Asian do his dirty work for him, alongside Huq’s referral to Rishi as “a little brown guy”, is indicative that Labour somehow questions the legitimacy of non-white Tory Cabinet ministers. Does anyone get the sense Labour are slightly panicked about the Tories having a more diverse front bench than they do?
Sir Keir is refusing to let any incident overshadow the coverage of yesterday’s conference speech. He comprehensively threw former Labour colleague Rupa Huq under the bus this morning as he denounced her leaked comments as “racist, it was wrong.”
“She shouldn’t have said it, she will be dealt with and I’ll be absolutely clear it was racist.”
He clarifies it wasn’t his own personal decision to suspend the whip and launch an investigation, implying the Chief Whip took the decision. The Chief Whip whom, as Guido first revealed, is himself under investigation, albeit by the Commons Standards Commissioner…
Rupa Huq finally issues an apology to Kwasi Kwarteng, despite telling The Guardian she has nothing to apologise for:
“I have today contacted Kwasi Kwarteng to offer my sincere and heartfelt apologies for the comments I made at yesterday’s Labour conference fringe meeting. My comments were ill-judged and I wholeheartedly apologise to anyone affected.”
160 minutes after Guido broke the exclusive audio, Huq has been administratively suspended by the Labour party and thus lost the whip. Labour won’t allow anyone to steal the limelight on Keir’s big day…
Credit to the BBC for putting Guido’s exclusive on Rupa Huq’s Kwasi Kwarteng comments to Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy during their Politics Live special. Despite Rupa saying she stands by them and won’t be apologising, Lammy said he would not have made them, that they were “unfortunate”, and he hopes she can “stand those comments down.” In other words, just say sorry…
Newly-appointed Tory Chairman Jake Berry has written to Sir Keir calling on him to remove the party whip from Rupa Huq, following Guido’s revelations this lunchtime that she accused Kwasi Kwarteng of being “superficially” black. Berry’s letter calls on Starmer to join him in “unequivocally condemning these comments as nothing less than racist…”
“and that the Labour whip will be withdrawn from Rupa Huq as a consequence.”
The Guardian’s already approached Rupa, who boldly says “I stand by” the comments and doesn’t believe they require an apology. Guido approached Kwasi’s team, though it sounded like they had rather more pressing issues to be dealing with.
Read Berry’s letter in full below: