Tory MP who once refused to apologise for wearing blackface says anti-racist 'looters have it coming’

Joanna Taylor
Thursday 04 June 2020 06:30
news
(GETTY)

A Tory MP who once refused to apologise for wearing blackface told his constituents that Black Lives Matter "arsonists and looters have it coming".

Sir Desmond Swayne, MP for New Forest West in Hampshire, was asked to condemn Trump's use of force against protesters.

In response to an email from one of his constituents, who asked him to "support BLM" and "condemn Trump's actions", he wrote:

Sorry to disagree. Arsonists and looters have it coming.

Riot police in the US have used tear gas and rubber bullets against protesters, resulting in serious injuries.

Swayne's comments came after Trump called on state governors to deploy the National Guard against protesters, whilst having them forcibly cleared from outside the White House so he could enjoy a photo opportunity at St John's Church.

Swayne, who was international development minister under David Cameron, has met with controversy before.

In September 2019 he claimed that wearing blackface is "an entirely acceptable bit of fun" before a photo of him in blackface dressed up as singer James Brown came to public attention.

He wrote in a blog post:

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.

Constituents often write to me having been infuriated by some latest absurdity of political correctness. I tell them that the best response is simply to laugh at it.

Swayne regularly updates his blog with his thoughts on major news stories. In a post on the Dominic Cummings scandal, he wrote that Cummings's trips to Durham "seemed reasonable" and that he was "deeply opposed to lockdown in the first place".

Swayne has been contacted for comment.

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