David Ottewell, Manchester Evening News (UK), Sept. 27
Controversial Tory MP Ann Winterton has been blasted by a race equality group after she said Britain is “thankfully a predominantly white, Christian country”.
Lady Winterton also questioned the benefits of multi-culturalism and referred to the UK as a “banana republic”.
Her comments were criticised by the Cheshire Racial Equality Council, which said she had “failed to recognise the contribution black and minority ethnic people have made to this country”.
Lady Winterton was writing a column in a weekly newspaper in her Congleton constituency. She wrote: “We live in times of tremendous change but the United Kingdom is still, thankfully, a predominantly white, Christian country.
“Some might say we are paying the price for the so-called benefits of the multi-cultural society we keep hearing about, the product of almost uncontrolled immigration and the abuse of asylum.”
A Conservative spokeswoman today said there had been no official complaint and declined to comment further.
The forthright MP was sacked as shadow rural affairs minister three years ago after making an allegedly racist joke during an after-dinner speech.
And in 2004 she briefly had the party whip withdrawn by Tory bosses after making another joke about Chinese cockle pickers shortly after the tragedy at Morecambe Bay.
Lady Winterton was elected as the first-ever MP for Congleton when the new constituency was created in 1983. Her husband, Sir Nick Winterton, has been MP for neighbouring Macclesfield for 34 years.
In her column she added: “In his banana republic called Britain, we have been as weak on terrorism and terrorists as he (Tony Blair) is on crime and criminals.
“Understandable outrage has been expressed about the reluctance of the authorities to combat the blatant agitation by Muslim extremists in this country. We have now paid a high price for this inactivity.”
Chantelle Janes, director of Cheshire Racial Equality Council, said: “A lot of people on July 7 who lost people were from black and minority ethnic groups and she seems to forget that.”
Lady Winterton was not available for comment.
E-mail Ann Winterton at [email protected]