Brexiteers urge MPs not to use term ‘racist’ in politics as it ‘lowers the tone’

PUBLISHED: 14:39 03 September 2020 | UPDATED: 14:42 03 September 2020

Lee Anderson questioned Jacob Rees-Mogg about whether the use of the word 'racist' is appropriate. Photograph: Parliament TV.

Lee Anderson questioned Jacob Rees-Mogg about whether the use of the word 'racist' is appropriate. Photograph: Parliament TV.

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MPs have been told calling each other ‘racist’ will ‘lower the tone of our politics’ after a Brexiteer complained in the Commons.

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Labour MP Neil Coyle last week sent, and subsequently deleted, a tweet branding Brexiteers “absolute sh*tbag racist wankers” after a row over Rule Britannia at the Last Night Of The Proms.

The BBC announced last month that Rule Britannia! and Land Of Hope And Glory would be performed without lyrics due to limits on the number of singers allowed to perform – a decision it has now overturned.


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During Business Questions, Tory Brexiteer Lee Anderson objected to the use of language in Coyle’s response, which was later removed from the social media platform without explanation.

Anderson told the Commons: “Does the leader of the House agree with me and the people of Ashfield that members of this House should refrain from labelling members of the public and opposition colleagues as ‘fat old racists’ simply because they supported Brexit and voted to leave the EU?”

Rees-Mogg replied: “I think that particular jibe was directed at me.

“And I cannot deny that age catches up with me and seeing my fifth child go to school yesterday made me realise once again how quickly time flies.

“Fat is a matter of opinion, and some people may think that I am fat, perhaps Kate Moss thinks I’m fat, but … otherwise I doubt many people would consider me to be particularly plump.

“But the charge of racism is a deeply offensive one.

“And people should not bandy around that type of abuse in politics because it lowers the whole tone of our politics and makes politics unnecessarily fractious when we actually ought to be reasonably polite to each other.

“I don’t mind a little bit of joshing, I don’t mind being called old and fat, but I think calling people a racist is wrong.”

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