Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday ordered the Conservative party’s chief to suspend MP Anne Marie Morris from her parliamentary party after she used the ‘n’-word at a meeting in London.
The move technically reduces the margin of May’s small parliamentary majority to just six. It is unclear if any further disciplinary actions will be taken.
“Language like this has absolutely no place in politics or in today’s society,” the prime minister said.
Brexit campaigner Morris – whose remarks were recorded by the Huffington Post – made the remark on Monday during a meeting in London discussing blueprints for the financial services sector post-Brexit: “Just seven percent of financial services currently used in the UK will be impacted by Brexit. 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 nigger in the woodpile, which is, in two years, what happens if there is no deal?”
Morris apologized within hours of making the statement for any offence caused. “The comment was entirely unintentional,” she said.
David Isaac, chairman of the UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission said, “this language belongs to another era and is highly regrettable. At a time when we need to heal divisions in our country, using a phrase like this will offend the vast majority of people across the UK. We should not tolerate language of this sort. The prime minister should take immediate action.”
Tory MP Heidi Allen said an apology was not enough and the party must show zero tolerance towards racism.
Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal Democrat party, said he was shocked and that Morris should immediately be excluded from the Conservative parliamentary group. “Every hour they leave her in place is a stain on them and the so-called ‘compassionate conservatism’ they supposedly espouse.”