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Theresa May suspends Tory MP who said no-deal Brexit was 'n****r in the woodpile'

3 min read

Theresa May has suspended a veteran Conservative MP who was recorded using a racist slur to describe a no-deal Brexit scenario.

Anne Marie Morris, the MP for Newton Abbott, said dropping out of the EU without a new agreement was a “real n****r in the woodpile” at a panel event in central London.

According to the Huffington Post, her fellow panellists, including Tory MPs Bill Cash and John Redwood, failed to react when she said the phrase.

The Conservatives immediately launched an investigation involving the Prime Minister and chief whip Gavin Williamson.

In a statement tonight, Theresa May said: "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."

The phrase was common in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the US to denote something considered to be suspicious or wrong.

At the exclusive East India Club event, Ms Morris argued only 7% of financial services in the UK would be affected by Brexit.

She added: “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 n****r in the woodpile which is in two years what happens if there is no deal?"

Listen to the remarks here:

As the controversy grew, Ms Morris issued an apology. She said: "The comment was totally unintentional. I apologise unreservedly for any offence caused."

Labour shadow cabinet member Andrew Gwynne said: "Anne Marie Morris' comments are outrageous and totally unacceptable.

"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."


Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said the Tories should kick her out. He said: “This disgusting comment belongs in the era of the Jim Crow laws and has no place in our parliament.

“The Conservative party should withdraw the whip from Anne Marie Morris and they should do it today. 

“Every hour they leave her in place, is a stain on them and the so called ‘compassionate conservatism' they supposedly espouse.

“I am utterly shocked that this person represents the good people of Newton Abbott.

“Even if she mis-spoke this is the nastiest thing I’ve heard an MP utter since Lord Dixon Smith uttered the same awful phrase a few years ago.”

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