Hugh’s sorry now
Labour leader reprimands Gaffney over slurs
Coatbridge MP Hugh Gaffney has apologised to his constituents for any embarrassment he caused them when he made “deeply offensive” remarks at a Burns Supper.
The Labour MP referred to a Chinese meal as a “c*****” and joked about Robert Burns not being “bent”.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called Gaffney’s remarks “completely wrong”.
Hugh Gaffney has apologised to his Coatbridge constituents for the “deeply offensive and unacceptable” comments he made during an ill- advised speech at a Burns Supper event.
The MP admitted using “completely inappropriate” language referring to the LGBT community and Chinese people in front of a stunned audience at the Labour students’ gathering in Edinburgh last week.
The 54-year-old made a joke about Robert Burns not being “bent”, and used the term “c*****” when referring to Chinese food.
Despite repeated requests, Mr Gaffney declined to speak to the Advertiser directly, and instead issued an updated version of his previous apology.
It read: “Last week I attended a Labour students’ Burns Supper In Edinburgh.
“At that event I used certain language relating to the Chinese and LGBT communities that was wrong and completely inappropriate.
“I want to offer my unreserved apologies for what I said; my remarks were deeply offensive and unacceptable.
“I will be taking part in equality and diversity training at the earliest opportunity.
“I will do everything possible to make amends with both the Chinese community and the LGBT community.
“I would also like to apologise to the people of Coatbridge, Chryston & Bellshill for any embarrassment this has caused them.”
Mr Gaffney’s racist remark came just weeks after he visited China on an all-expenses paid trip.
The former postman travelled to Guangdong and Guangxi in November with Westminster’s allparty parliamentary group (APPG) on China; an organisation founded to build relations between the UK and China.
Mr Gaffney has said he will now undergo equality and diversity training following his ill-judged comments – and has vowed to “do everything in his power to make amends” with both the Chinese and LGBT communities.
Despite the Coatbridge, Bellshill & Chryston MP’s expression of remorse, there have been calls for his suspension, with Glasgow MSP Humza Yousaf claiming Mr Gaffney’s behaviour was “not simply offensive but racist and homophobic”, and a “slap in the face” to minorities.
Commenting on Mr Gaffney’s Chinese excursion, Mr Yousaf added: “The fact Hugh Gaffney recently went on an all-expenses paid trip, and is part of the APPG on China, make his comments all the more staggering.
“Casual racism and bigotry are serious issues that a serious leader wouldn’t need to think twice about, and Richard Leonard shouldn’t need me to remind to him of that.
“We need deeds not words and at the very least, the whip should be withdrawn and Hugh Gaffney suspended from the party.”
During a visit to Scotland on Monday, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn condemned Mr Gaffney’s comments as “completely wrong”.
He said:“Hugh has apologised for what he said. He has been reprimanded for it and is undertaking the appropriate diversity training.
Mr Corbyn added: “What he said was completely wrong, of course, but he has recognised and understood that and apologised, and that’s what we have done.”
Cheers Hugh Gaffney in China