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DUP MP denies ‘race-baiting’ and refuses to apologise

Gregory Campbell in the House of Commons - Credit: Parliament Live

A DUP MP has denied “race-baiting” and has refused to apologise after suggesting the number of black people on an edition of Songs Of Praise was “the BBC at its BLM (Black Lives Matter) worst”.

Gregory Campbell said no-one raised any issue with the remarks he made on his Facebook page for days after he posted them following the programme on January 31.

Campbell said the BBC website says it is committed to reflecting the diversity of the UK, but added: “There wasn’t much diversity or inclusion in that edition of Songs Of Praise, that’s what I was getting at.”

He told the BBC: “There wasn’t a single critical comment for five and a half days after I put that up on my public page on Facebook, not a single critical comment until Saturday, then on Saturday there was this contrived controversy which has escalated over the weekend into the vilest of abuse.”

He insisted it was a reasonable thing to say.

“Why would I apologise for something that is correct and accurate? No, I don’t apologise. I’m an anti-racist – do I apologise for that? No. I stand with a black footballer who refuses to take the knee – would I apologise for that? No I don’t.

“I am a committed anti-racist and I am happy to explain that to the forum or anyone else and I have always been.

“I don’t need a contrived controversy to turn me into an anti-racist, I have always been so. Of all the things I have been criticised and lambasted for down through the years, it has never been on the basis of racism because people who know me know I am not, and the post proves that I am not.”

The MP has been referred to the Westminster Standards Commissioner over the comments.

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