Sarah Champion resigns over Sun article claiming Britain has 'problem' with Pakistani men raping white girls
Sarah Champion has resigned from Labour's frontbench over an article for The Sun in which she claimed Britain "has a problem" with Pakistani men raping white girls.
The shadow equalities minister has faced intense criticism since the piece was published by the paper last week.
In it, she said: "Britain has a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls. There. I said it. Does that make me a racist? Or am I just prepared to call out this horrifying problem for what it is?"
The article was published after 17 men and one woman were convicted over the abuse of girls, some as young as 14, in Newcastle.
Rotherham MP Ms Champion claimed said the piece had been altered by The Sun and should “not have gone out in my name".
However, the paper produced an email from a member of the MP's team who said she was "thrilled" with the final article and that her only complaint was about the picture of her they used alongside it.
In a statement this afternoon, Ms Champion accepted that her choice of words in the article was "extremely poor".
Sshe said: “I am concerned that my continued position in the Shadow Cabinet would distract from the crucial issues around child protection which I have campaigned on my entire career.
"It is therefore with regret that I tender my resignation as Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities."
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: "I have accepted Sarah Champion’s resignation and thank her for her work in the Shadow Cabinet. I look forward to working together in the future.”
The MP is a long-standing campaigner for child protection and in an interview with the BBC recently blasted authorities as more concerned with avoiding accusations of racism than calling out suspected child abuse.
Ms Champion earlier said that she “did not write the headline or opening sentences, which were stripped of any nuance about the complex issues of grooming gangs, which have exploited thousands in my constituency”.
But a spokesperson for the Sun said: “Sarah Champion’s column, as it appeared on Friday, was approved by her team and her adviser twice contacted us thereafter to say she was ‘thrilled’ with the piece and it ‘looked great’.
“Indeed, her only objection after the article appeared was her belief that her picture byline looked unflattering. Her office submitted five new pictures for further use.”