Tory MP Sir Desmond Swayne 'blacked up' as soul singer James Brown

Narjas Zatat@Narjas_Zatat
Tuesday 01 October 2019 07:30
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Picture:(Peter Macdiarmid/Getty)

David Lammy has joined the chorus of people who are condemning a Tory MP who refused to apologise for a photograph of him dressed in blackface.

The photograph was taken at a Blues Brothers themed party and published by The Daily Telegraph and depicts Sir Desmond posing with his wife.

The MP can be seen in full black face makeup and wore sunglasses, whilst his wife wore a white suit and tie, sunglasses and a black top hat.

According to the The Telegraph, who showed the picture to Swayne on Monday at the Conservative Party Conference, he admitted the woman in the photo was his wife but did not confirm his own identity.

He said the photo was taken “years ago.”

It is definitely my wife. What does this add to what I have said already? Nothing.

The media organisation questioned if the man in the photo was him, to which he responded: “It might be is all I can say. I can’t deny it. I don’t know the provenance of this photograph. It was years ago.”

Lammy tweeted: “For those who have been victims of racism there aren’t words for how grim it is that Tory MP @DesmondSwayne refuses to apologise for blacking up.”

Calling for the prime minister to expel the senior Tory member from the party, Lammy added: “@BorisJohnson unless the @Conservatives have become unapologetically racist you will now remove the whip.”

In September Swayne penned a blog post defending Justin Trudeau’s blackface controversy, admitting that he once dressed “authentically” as James Brown at a fancy dress party.

He wrote:

I suspect that Justin Trudeau’s cringing apology for blacking himself  ‘blinded by his own white privilege’ has done him rather more harm than the original offence.

It was a themed ‘Arabian Nights’ fancy-dress party for heaven’s sake!

I once went to a ‘Blues Brothers’ themed fancy-dress party as James Brown. I went to some trouble to be as authentic as possible. I can assure readers of this column that I have no intention of apologising.

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