Tory Brexiteer MP says ‘people have lost their sense of humour’ over blacking up

PUBLISHED: 21:23 17 July 2020 | UPDATED: 21:35 17 July 2020

Desmond Swayne in the Hosue of Commons. Photograph: Parliament TV.

Desmond Swayne in the Hosue of Commons. Photograph: Parliament TV.

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A Tory MP who wore black face at a fancy dress party when dressing up as James Brown has complained ‘people lost their sense of humour’ about it.

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In an interview with the Telegraph’s Chopper’s Politics podcast, Sir Desmond Swayne claimed “people have lost their sense of proportion and sense of humour” over blacking up.

Denying he had a “racist bone” in his body, he expressed bafflement at the outrage over him dressing up as Brown at a party a few years back, after photographs emerged in the national newspapers.


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He said: “I am disappointed that people have lost a sense of proportion and a sense of humour, and that there are things you just can’t say and can’t do, even if they’re done for the best possible reasons.

“Going to a party and having fun in fancy dress seems now to be something that one has to take great precaution about in these woke times, and we all do unless we want the opprobrium of the great and good.”

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The Brexiteer, who this week fumed about having to wear a face mask by calling it a “monstrous imposition”, questioned why people found it offensive.

He asked: “Why is it offensive? Now my children tell me: ‘Dad, of course it is offensive, of course you can’t do that.’ But why?”

“Are you saying a black man can’t get into a fancy dress party as a white man? That we must stay in our racial silos? That we can’t interchange? I just don’t see the world that way.

“There is not a racist bone in my body. I can’t see why we have got to this stage where there are things that you can’t touch and can’t go to.”

After a suggestion that the MP could be seen as a part of fancy dress, the politician agreed. He added: “Indeed. And when people go on stage they put a lot of makeup on. Now what is the difference in it being dark makeup or light makeup?”

Last month the politician angered constituents when he told them that Black Lives Matter protesters “have it coming”, following fears Donald Trump could encourage force to remove them from the streets.

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