Public backlash after footage of Tory MPs laughing at slavery joke resurfaces

PUBLISHED: 17:34 09 June 2020 | UPDATED: 21:26 09 June 2020

Tory MP Lucy Frazer joking that Scots should be sent to the 'colonies' as slaves, a comment she later apologised for. (Photograph: Twitter)

Tory MP Lucy Frazer joking that Scots should be sent to the 'colonies' as slaves, a comment she later apologised for. (Photograph: Twitter)

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Footage of Tory MPs laughing at a joke about Scottish slaves in the House of Commons has resurfaced and sparked a backlash, hours after Boris Johnson claimed that Britain was ‘not a racist country’.

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Twitter users were ‘appalled’ and ‘disgusted’ after a video of Tory MP Lucy Frazer joking that Scots be shipped to offshore ‘colonies’ as slaves was given in response to a question over voting rights.

In the footage from 2015, when David Cameron was leader of the Tories, the South East Cambridgeshire MP can be seen talking in the Commons about Oliver Cromwell and his defeat of the Scots at the Battle of Dunbar in 1650.


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The Tory MP goes on to make the suggestion, egged on by her colleagues sat around her on the government backbenches.

“[Cambridgeshire] is the home of Oliver Cromwell, who defeated the Scots at Dunbar, incorporated Scotland into his Protectorate and transported the Scots as slaves to the colonies,” she told MPs.

“Now there is an answer to the West Lothian question – but not one that of course I would recommend.”

The video then shows fellow Tory MPs erupting into laughter.

The West Lothian question refers whether MPs from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales sitting in the Commons should be able to vote on matters that only affect England.

Frazer has since apologised, however, it seems social media users were a little less forgiving.

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Twitter user @HelDoc369 labelled the joke “an utter disgrace”. “What was funny about that?” she asked.

“Just when you think you’ve reached the point where nothing can shock you anymore,” commented Peter Cavey.

Another wrote: “Slavery it’s all a bit of a laugh really for the Tories.”

“Are we really surprised after BoJo’s speech yesterday, talking about racism and hatred in the UK with a content smile on his face,” wrote Emilie Ancelin. “Honestly, What’s next?”

“Isn’t that the vacant Helen Whately laughing away in the bottom left of the picture?” tweeted Livia Augusta. “What is wrong with these people that they fall over themselves to be offensive?”

Up to 100,000 Scots were transported to British colonies and sold as slaves, a practice that occurred as early as 1630.

The footage re-emerged after Boris Johnson appeared to dismiss concerns about Black Lives Matters protesters, by claiming that Britain is not a racist country.

His spokesman said: “The PM doesn’t doubt that there continues to be discrimination and racism but does not agree that this is a racist country”.

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