Brexiteer MP - who once blackfaced at a party - claims Black Lives Matter rioters ‘have it coming’

PUBLISHED: 11:53 04 June 2020 | UPDATED: 12:03 04 June 2020

Sir Desmond Swayne in the House of Commons. Photograph: Parliament TV.

Sir Desmond Swayne in the House of Commons. Photograph: Parliament TV.

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A Tory Brexiteer MP has caused anger after he responded to an email about Black Lives Matter protests in America by claiming that those rioting ‘have it coming’ if Trump allows the military to intervene.

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Desmond Swayne responded to an email from a constituent asking if he could support the US after it threatened to send in the military to break up protests.

In response to the communications the MP for New Forest West in Hampshire suggested those turning to civil unrest “have it coming”.

He said: “Racism is a cancer, and I’m glad that the perpetrator is on a murder charge.

“Nevertheless, looters, arsonists and rioters have it coming.”

Last year Swayne said it was “entirely bit of acceptable fun” to wear blackface at a party and admitted doing so himself, when he defended Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau.

He said: “He would have done better to have said it was an entirely acceptable bit of fun and refused to apologise”.

He added: “I once went to a Blues Brothers themed fancy-dress party as James Brown. I went to some trouble to be as authentic as possible.”

The latest comments from Swayne have led to anger for the lack of compassion showed by the politician.


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Constituent Millie Edland said she was “disgusted” by his email response to her.

She tweeted: “Disgusted by Desmond Swayne‘s response to my letter, asking if he will condemn Trump and how he will address racial bias in this pandemic.

“He is condoning Trump’s violence.”

Another, giving the name of Eleanor, had a screenshot of her reply shared more than 12,000 times.

Labour MP Jess Phillips replied: “Sorry to see this complete lack of thought and care.”

“A total lack of empathy & inability to read the room,” said Simon Lincoln.

Lib Dem councillor Jack Davies responded: “It’s a disgrace, he should apologise and I would even go so far as to say he should go for diversity training.”

“I remember some people calling antisemitism a ‘cancer’ while doing nothing about it,” wrote Dorian Lynskey. “Like ‘I don’t have a racist bone in my body’ that metaphor seems to be popular with those who want only to pay lip service to anti-racism.”

“Once you see this man’s banner photo you despair once again the calibre of politicians we have in this country. Total dystopia,” wrote another pointing to the picture of him in a Tory rosette besides a car with a cardboard cutout of Margaret Thatcher.

Swayne declined to respond to media reports on the letter.

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