Labour MP deletes explosive tweets calling Brexiteers 'fat old racists'
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A Labour MP waded into the Rule, Brittania! row by describing Brexiteers as "sh*tbag racist w*nkers".

The BBC's decision to exclude the lyrics from tunes like Rule, Brittania! and Land of Hope and Glory at the Last Night of the Proms sparked a furious debate.

Responding to a tweet from Jacob Rees-Mogg, Labour MP Neil Coyle railed against the "fat old racists" who blame everything on the EU.

He wrote:

I have spent years warning local people that these fat old racists won’t stop blaming the EU when their sh*t hits the fan. Here they come blaming others. Absolute sh*tbag racist w*nkers.

Referring to Rule, Brittania!, he went on to add:

If you didn’t hate it before, feel free to hate the song now. I’ve never known anyone but sh*tlickers like it tbh.

The tweets have since been deleted.

Rees-Mogg's sister, MP Annunziata Rees-Mogg, shared a screenshot of one of the tweets, criticising Cole's characterisation of her brother.

Others also criticised Coyle for his choice of language.

Some people felt his words were only likely to sow further division between those who voted for and against Brexit, and possibly further alienate Leave voters from the Labour party.

Despite the fact that the BBC has confirmed the lyrics were removed because of coronavirus, The Proms debate has become decidedly political.

Boris Johnson waded into the culture war, telling ITV News:

If it is correct that the BBC is saying that they will not sing the words of Land of Hope and Glory and Rule, Brittania! as they traditionally do at the end of Last Night of the Proms, I think it's time we stopped our cringing embarrassment about our history, about our traditions and about our culture, and we stop this general bout of self-recrimination and wetness.

Cabinet ministers, including business secretary Alok Sharma and culture secretary Oliver Dowden, have also commented, despite the fact that it appears to be a classic non-story.

Sharma told ITV News that "I personally think we should have the lyrics sung" while Dowden wrote that "forward-looking nations don't erase their history".

According to The Sun, a spokesperson for Keir Starmer referred to the Proms as a "staple of the British summer", while a Labour spokesperson reportedly said:

The running order is a matter for organisers and the BBC, but enjoying patriotic songs does not... present a barrier to examining our past.

The row was sparked by a report in The Sunday Times that the BBC were considering scrapping songs like Rule, Brittania! and Land of Hope and Glory from the Proms because of their links to colonialism and slavery.

The BBC then announced that orchestral arrangements of the songs would be performed without the lyrics. Although they did not entirely rule out the influence of the Black Lives Matter protests, the decision was primarily guided by social distancing measures.

A BBC report explained:

The orchestra-only arrangement was how the tunes were first performed at the Proms in 1905, and it's clear the evening's two rousing sing-along tunes would sound odd and perhaps rather bleak with just a handful of singers spread around an empty hall.

The songs, complete with lyrics, will return in future years, while this year's paired-back Proms still feature the National Anthem and Jerusalem in full.

Ultimately, the row is little more than a distraction from more important issues.

No-one is banning Rule, Brittania! and no-one is actually asking anyone to, either.

But maybe let's all mind our language on Twitter?

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