Leading Indian MP slams Tory lawmaker's comment | india | Hindustan Times
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Leading Indian MP slams Tory lawmaker's comment

A Tory lawmaker commented that a lot of ethnic minority soldiers were idle.

india Updated: Mar 09, 2007 19:42 IST

Leading NRI MP Keith Vaz, chair of the Labour Party Ethnic Minority Taskforce, on Friday severely criticised a top Tory lawmaker's comment that a lot of ethnic minority soldiers were idle and useless and used racism as cover for their misdemeanours.

"This is a shocking and damaging setback for racial awareness in the UK, not just for the Tory Party, but for the armed forces and British society as a whole," Vaz said in a statement.

Earlier Shadow homeland security spokesman Patrick Mercer was forced to quit his frontbench role after making racial comments in Army.

The former officer, in his interview with the Times daily talks of the black men he had known in the Army.

"They prospered inside my regiment, but if you had said to them 'Have you ever been called a nigger,' they would have said 'Yes'," Mercer said.

"But equally, a chap with red hair, for example, would also get a hard time - a far harder time than a black man, in fact," Mercer added.

"But that's the way it is in the Army," he said.

"I came across a lot of ethnic minority soldiers who were idle and useless, but who used racism as cover for their misdemeanours," Mercer said while referring to their excuses.

"These comments belittle the devastating experiences that racism can have on the careers of those with an ethnic minority background in every profession," Vaz said while demanding an apology from him.