MP's apology to Derbyshire town over racism comment 'not good enough'

Derbyshire MP Maggie Throup has called for a formal apology after a Labour member called a Derbyshire resident a 'horrible racist'.

Friday, 20th May 2016, 11:54 am
Updated Friday, 20th May 2016, 3:11 pm
Pat Glass, Labour and Maggie Throup, Conservative are both backing the campaign to stay in Europe, but are at loggerheds over a comment made about a Derbyshire resident.

The Erewash Conservative called for an apology after a controversial comment made about a local man concerning his Polish neighbours.

Labour's Pat Glass made a comment after an interview with BBC Radio Derb in Sawley that one of the local residents she met was a 'horrible racist' and suggested the resident represented the area.

The Shadow Europe minister who is campaigning for the UK to remain in the EU reportedly said after arriving in the village between Derby ad Long Eaton: "The very first person I come to is a horrible racist. I'm never coming back to wherever this is."

The comments were made after an interview with BBC Radio Derby in Sawley, and reportedly after she heard a resident call some Polish neighbours 'scroungers'.

The resident later denied being racist but said he was concerned about neighbours living on benefits.

Pat Glass made a statement of apology within hours, admitting that the comments were "inappropriate".

The North West Durham MP said: "The comments I made were inappropriate and I regret them.

"Concerns about immigration are entirely valid and it's important that politicians engage with them.

"I apologise to the people living in Sawley for any offence I have caused."

But Derbyshire MP Maggie Throup said the apology was insufficient.

She said: "The apology issued on behalf of Mrs Glass by the Labour press team falls short of what my constituents expect and deserve.

“I am aware of the inflammatory remarks made earlier today by Pat Glass MP whilst campaigning for Labour In for Britain in my constituency.

“Her remarks have deeply offended many residents within the local community and, as a senior figure within the Labour Party, I would have expected a more personal approach to this situation.”

“Mrs Glass needs to understand that the EU Referendum is a highly emotive subject with passionate views on each side of the debate. Her comments echo those of Gordon Brown’s during the ill-fated Labour General Election Campaign in 2010, and clearly demonstrate just how out of touch Labour still are with a large proportion of British people.

“I would also be delighted if Mrs Glass would accept my invitation to come back to Erewash to see for herself just how great a place it is to live, work and raise a family.”