Conservative MP Anne Marie Morris suspended for making racist comment

Posted by
Sarah Biddlecombe

A Conservative MP has been suspended after using a racist expression while speaking about Brexit at a public meeting.

Anne Marie Morris, who has been MP for Newton Abbot since 2010, was discussing the prospect of the UK leaving the EU without a deal when she used the racial slur.

After stating that just 7% of financial services in the UK would be affected by Brexit, The Huffington Post reports that Morris said, “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?”

Anne Marie Morris with David Cameron in 2015

Anne Marie Morris with David Cameron in 2015

The remarks were made at a meeting organised by the Politeia think tank, and despite other MPs being in attendance – including including Tory MPs Bill Cash and John Redwood – no one commented on Morris’ language.

Unsurprisingly, however, the comments received a huge public backlash once they were published on The Huffington Post, with many writers and political commentators calling for Morris to resign.

“Clearly @AnneMarieMorris must resign her seat immediately and her fellow Tory panellists need to be held to account,” wrote Owen Jones.

“Anne Marie Morris's casual use of the N-word clearly shows nobody in her circles has ever called her out on it, including fellow Tory MPs,” added Hicham Yezza.

“So Anne Marie Morris MP thinks saying "N****r in the woodpile" is ok? In which century?” asked Stan Collymore.

There was also uproar among MPs, with Labour MP Chuka Umunna and fellow Tory MP Heidi Allen wading into the fray on social media.

"Speechless, not just at the remark being made but also at the reported lack of a reaction from the Tories there. Utterly appalling,” tweeted Umunna.

“I'm afraid an apology is not good enough - we must show zero tolerance for racism. MPs must lead by example,” added Allen.

Following the backlash, Morris issued a statement of apology to the BBC in which she said, “The comment was totally unintentional. I apologise unreservedly for any offence caused.”

In a separate statement, Theresa May confirmed that Morris had been suspended, adding that she was "shocked" by the “completely unacceptable” language.

“I immediately asked the chief whip to suspend the party whip,” the statement read.

“Language like this has absolutely no place in politics or in today's society.”

Images: Getty / Anne Marie Morris’ Twitter