PM condemns `offensive' Manning

Bernard Manning was yesterday condemned by the Prime Minister for his "offensive" remarks at a police charity dinner, while the television company which broadcast his performance said a majority of calls it received supported the comedian.

In a Commons exchange with the Labour MP, Ken Livingstone, John Major was asked to condemn Manning's use of the word "nigger". He replied: "I certainly think everybody should avoid expressions that give offence to those who are on the receiving end of those expressions . . . that is true of Mr Manning and everyone else."

But while his performance, secretly recorded by Granada's World in Action, was roundly condemned by all political parties, Manning was relying on some public support. About 60 per cent of the 30-40 calls to World in Action after Monday night's programme were critical of the makers - some asking when Granada was going to highlight racism against whites.

Calls to Greater Manchester police, the force involved, were said to be split - some in support, others condemning the comedian. Manning's agent said he had picked up eight new bookings yesterday.

The programme was shown at the Birmingham club where the comedian was appearing on Monday night as a warm-up to his act. The reception was so good that the club has re-booked Manning. His agent, Chris Graham, said yesterday: "The phone hasn't stopped with offers from the Littlejohn and Esther Rantzen television programmes. The World In Action programme has helped a lot."

Mr Graham said he talked to Manning after the programme. "He wasn't upset. He said he's paid to make people laugh and that's what he did. He wasn't selling people drugs or hitting them over the head. He certainly won't be changing his act."

However, the Comedy Empire in Willesden, north-west London, has cancelled a Manning show. A statement said: "The directors feel Mr Manning's material is too offensive." Another club - the Island, in Ilford, north-east London - has also cancelled a Manning appearance, but it blames disastrous ticket sales.

Clive Soley, the Labour MP, asked the Attorney General to consider charging the comedian with inciting race hatred for the stream of racist insults and jokes which delighted his off-duty police audience.

The Chief Constable of Greater Manchester is reconsidering disciplinary action against officers involved in the event. Police sources said that while it may be difficult to pursue officers who were merely present, it may be possible to charge organisers or those actively participating with "discreditable conduct".

Another View, page 18

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy as ECB finally wield the axe
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
news... you won't believe how bad their skills were
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas