German MPs in racism row on US trip

Six German MPs have been upbraided for using "unacceptable and devious" behaviour on an official visit to America, during which one of them demanded the services of a "negro" to push the wheelchair of a delegate who had broken her foot.

The parliamentary health committee completed its 11-day trip to the US and Canada in May. But yesterday, in a leaked letter to the German Foreign Ministry, Berlin's consul in San Francisco complained that the MPs had deliberately cancelled appointments with US officials in order to have more time to go sightseeing and shopping.

In one incident a Social Democrat MP, Randolph Krüger, demanded that his hosts provide "a negro" to push the wheelchair of Annette Widmann-Mauz. Mr Krüger was unrepentant yesterday. "I would not rule out that I said that. If they provide such a contraption they should have at least helped out," he said.

In another incident at the end of the trip, the Christian Democrat MP Hubert Hüppe demanded to be be chauffeured to the airport because, he claimed, he could "barely speak English". However, on arriving at the check-in desk before departure, he reportedly used fluent English to demand an upgrade to first class.

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