Jeremy Corbyn is under pressure to remove the party whip from one of his MPs after ‘unacceptable’ comments she made about a Tory candidate were discovered online.
Emma Dent Coad apologised for offending London Assembly Member Shaun Bailey, after a six-year-old blog post in which she referred to him as a “token ghetto boy” and a “scumbag” was unearthed by the Guido Fawkes website.
But Conservative MPs James Cleverly and Kemi Badenoch have now written to the Labour leader to ask if he will remove the whip from Dent Coad, who won her Kensington seat at the snap general election.
They said: “The comments made by Ms Dent Coad in relation to Mr Bailey are unacceptable in any circumstance and particularly so from an elected representative.
“Your failure to condemn her comments is both disappointing and concerning.”
The MPs said Corbyn’s claim during the 2017 election campaign that “only Labour can unlock the talent of BAME people” was “as inaccurate as it was insulting” and said they believed there were too many people in the Labour Party who viewed Conservatives from black and minority ethnic backgrounds as “traitors”.
Badenoch, whose parents are Nigerian, also criticised a second post on Dent Coad’s blog, in which she appeared to have drawn a person hanging from the tree in the Conservative Party logo.
She said: “Words fail me. Just been to her site to see it for myself. It actually looks like a black conservative hanging from a tree. Whether or not she meant that, its not behaviour becoming of an MP.”
On Tuesday Badenoch, MP for Saffron Walden, posted a thread on Twitter in which she branded Dent Coad’s comments racist.
She also criticised former Labour frontbencher Clive Lewis for claiming in a post to activist Nimco Ali that you cannot “fight racism and be a member of the Tory party”.
The letter asks Corbyn to investigate why Dent Coad was allowed to stand as a candidate, given the blog post was posted publicly before she was selected.
It goes on: “Your party’s condesending attitude to BAME voters really must be addressed. Now is the time to do so.”
A spokesman for the Labour leader said: “Jeremy is opposed to all offensive language and believes we should treat each other with respect.
“Emma Dent Coad has rightly apologised to Shaun Bailey for her use of language.”
In a statement, Bailey said he was “shocked and saddened by the hate-filled, racist article”.
“During my time in politics I have dealt with prejudice and attacks from hard-line groups, including the BNP, but not once have I been labelled a ‘token ghetto boy’,” he added.
“Her use of language should not be acceptable for an elected politician, particularly one representing minority groups in London, and she should be ashamed.”
Dent Coad told BBC Radio London she was quoting an Afro-Caribbean constituent in the piece, adding: “The point I was making is how he [Bailey] was presenting himself, some people found it quite distasteful.
“He was presenting himself as somebody who came from a certain background and that that was his main pitch rather than representing everybody.”