UK

Oliver Letwin's 'Racist' Comments About Black Youth And Drugs And Disco Sparks Twitter Backlash

30/12/2015 09:52 GMT | Updated 30/12/2015 12:59 GMT

Oliver Letwin's claim that helping black youth in the 1980s would have merely helped them to "set up in the disco and drug trade” has led to savage mocking of his comments - about disco.

The Tory's "racist" remarks were revealed in declassified government documents published by the National Archives on Wednesday. His comments followed the 1985 Broadwater Farm riots in north London, when he was a policy advisor to Margaret Thatcher.

SEE ALSO: Cameron's Policy Chief Savaged For 'Racist' Broadwater Farm Remarks

But while many were quick to lambast Letwin for his attitude towards black people, others - including journalist Jeremy Vine - highlighted the absurdity of his "disco" warning.

The documents revealed that Letwin blamed “bad moral attitudes” for the rioting that broke out in across several predominantly black inner-city areas.

He also dismissed claims the disturbances were the result of deprivation and cabinet pleas to help black youth, scoffing they would simply "set up in the disco and drug trade.”

Despite cabinet colleague demanding that assistance be given to impoverished communities following the riots, Letwin dismissed the proposals, rubbishing the tabled £10million communities programme as nothing more than a subsidy for "Rastafarian arts and crafts workshops.”

The news of Letwin's comments has sparked fierce opposition, particularly from Labour MPs.

Chuka Umunna, who grew up in Lambeth, criticised Letwin's attitudes as being ignorant and "disgusting".

The Labour MP said in a statement: "The authors of this paper illustrate a complete ignorance of what was going on in our community at that time, as evidenced by their total and utter disregard of the rampant racism in the Met Police which caused the community to boil over - there is no mention of that racism in their paper.

"The attitudes towards the black community exhibited in the paper are disgusting and appalling. The tone of it in places is positively Victorian.

"People will draw their own conclusions but I hope the authors will feel thoroughly embarrassed and ashamed at what they wrote back then. At the very least they should apologise."

Diane Abbott slammed the Tory MP, against whom she stood in the 1987 General Election, and said there was "no excuse" for his "bigotry".

David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham, said Letwin's comments show how out of touch those in authority are with the public.

And many were filled with disbelief that a man who advises the Prime Minister held these thoughts.

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