A former Tory minister today told the Commons that voters have a right to elect misogynists and racists as MPs.

Sir Desmond Swayne said he hoped his constituents would not choose people with such views but made his remarks as he raised concerns over proposed standards reforms for MPs.

The Committee on Standards has suggested MPs should abide by the parliamentary behaviour code and “demonstrate anti-discriminatory attitudes and behaviours through the promotion of anti-racism, inclusion and diversity”.

The MP for New Forest West, however, said it could undermine democracy to require people to “subscribe to behaviours to promote certain attitudes.”

He said: “A debate would be very helpful in government time because some of the aspects of the report, such as the potential extension of the jurisdiction of an official into what happens in the lobbies and in select committees, touches on the principles of the Bill of Rights that no proceeding in Parliament be questioned in any place or any court other than Parliament itself.

“Indeed, the principle of democracy is undermined by the requirement that we may be required to subscribe to behaviours to promote certain attitudes.

“I hope that my constituents never elect a racist or a misogynist, but they have a right to do so.”

This isn’t the first time the MP has had, er, questionable takes on current events.

Earlier this week he told talkRADIO that he has “decided” that he’s exempt from wearing a mask “due to my genetic predisposition to liberty.”

He also slammed “mask rules” as “mumbo jumbo”.

Last year he went as far as to compare wearing face coverings to going “about like Darth Vader”, saying: “I think it’s frightful. I think it’s awful having to cover your face and go about like Darth Vader. I just think it’s horrible, many people do.”

Although he said we’re free to elect racists, he himself has previously insisted that there is “not a racist bone” in his body after he became embroiled in a row over blackface.

Speaking last year, the MP had admitted to dressing up as singer James Brown for a fancy dress party, and said “people have lost their sense of proportion and sense of humour” over wearing blackface.

Additional reporting by PA.

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