MP Anne Marie Morris suspended for racist remark

BBC | Published: July 20, 2017 11:04:51 | Updated: October 23, 2017 15:06:34

Ms Morris has been MP for Newton Abbot since 2010.

A Conservative MP has been suspended from the party after it emerged she used a racist expression during a public discussion about Brexit.


Anne Marie Morris, the MP for Newton Abbot, used the phrase at an event in London to describe the prospect of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.


She told the BBC: "The comment was totally unintentional. I apologise unreservedly for any offence caused."


The Conservative Party leader later on Monday confirmed she had had the whip withdrawn.


Announcing the suspension, Theresa May said she was "shocked" by the "completely unacceptable" language.


"I immediately asked the chief whip to suspend the party whip," she said in a statement.


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


The BBC understands the prime minister and Conservative Chief Whip Gavin Williamson met to discuss the matter once Mrs May finished her Commons statement on last weekend's G20 summit.


According to a recording published on the Huffington Post website, Ms Morris was discussing the impact of Brexit on the UK's financial services industry at an event organised by the Politeia think tank, which was attended by other MPs.


Suggesting that just 7 per cent of financial services would be affected by Brexit, she reportedly said: "Now I am sure there will be many people who will challenge that but my response and my request is look at the detail - it isn't all doom and gloom."


She went on: "Now we get to the real nigger in the woodpile, which is in two years what happens if there is no deal."


The phrase originated in the American Deep South in the mid-19th Century and is thought to have referred to slaves having to conceal themselves as they sought to flee north and secure their freedom.


It was subsequently used in the 20th Century - including by a number of leading novelists - as a metaphor to describe a hidden fact or problem.


The Lib Dems had called on Theresa May to withdraw the whip from Ms Morris, who was first elected to Parliament in 2010 and was subsequently re-elected in 2015 and earlier this year.

Share if you like