POLITICS
07/02/2018 16:06 GMT | Updated 07/02/2018 17:02 GMT

Labour MP Apologises After 'Deeply Offensive' Burns Supper Speech

Hugh Gaffney used a racist term and reportedly 'joked' that Robbie Burns wasn't 'bent'.

PA Archive/PA Images

Labour MP Hugh Gaffney has said sorry for “deeply offensive” remarks he made during a Burns Supper speech.

The Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill MP made a ‘joke’ about Robert Burns not being “bent”, according to the Herald, and used a racist term in reference to a Chinese meal. 

The MP has been reprimanded by the party and will attend equality and diversity training but Labour faced calls to suspend Gaffney. 

In a statement apologising for his comments, Gaffney said: “Last week I attended a Labour Students Burns Supper in Edinburgh.

“At that event I used certain language relating to the Chinese and LGBT communities that was wrong and completely inappropriate.

PA Wire/PA Images
Hugh Gaffney (left) campaigning with Jeremy Corbyn 

“I want to offer my unreserved apologies for what I said; my remarks were deeply offensive and unacceptable.

“I will be taking part in equality and diversity training at the earliest opportunity.

“I will do everything possible to make amends with both the Chinese community and the LGBT community.”

Anas Sarwar, Scottish Labour’s health spokesman in Holyrood, has this week drawn up up an eight-point plan on how the party can tackle everyday racism and Islamophobia after speaking out on the abuse he received during the Scottish leadership campaign. 

He said the comments were “sadly another example” of racism while former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale appeared to agree. 

SNP minister Humza Yousaf, meanwhile, said Gaffney should be suspended. 

A Labour spokesman said: “Hugh Gaffney MP has been reprimanded for using inappropriate and offensive language.

“He has apologised unreservedly and referred himself for equality and diversity training.

“The Labour Party is clear that this language is unacceptable.”