Theresa May has suspended the Conservative MP Anne Marie Morris after she used the racist slur "n***** in the woodpile".
The whip has been removed from the MP for Newton Abbot, in Devon, after she was recorded casually using the term at a panel event to discuss Brexit.
“I was shocked to hear of these remarks, which are completely unacceptable,” the Prime Minister said.
“I immediately asked the Chief Whip to suspend the party whip. Language like this has absolutely no place in politics or in today’s society.”
Opposition parties had piled pressure on Ms May to crack down hard on Ms Morris, as did some furious fellow Tory MPs.
One Conservative backbencher, Heidi Allen, tweeted: “I'm afraid an apology is not good enough - we must show zero tolerance for racism. MPs must lead by example.”
The Newton Abbott MP had been appearing on a panel, downplaying economic fears about Brexit alongside Tory colleagues Bill Cash and John Redwood.
“Now I’m sure there will be many people who’ll challenge that, but my response and my request is look at the detail, it isn’t all doom and gloom,” she said, in the recording made by the Huffington Post website.
“Now we get to the real n***** in the woodpile, which is, in two years, what happens if there is no deal?”
The suspension of Ms Morris cuts the precarious Conservative working majority in the Commons to just 12, even with the support of the Democratic Unionist Party.
Tim Farron, the outgoing leader of the Liberal Democrats, had been first to call for Ms Morris to lose the Tory whip, saying: “This disgusting comment belongs in the era of the Jim Crow laws and has no place in our parliament.
“Every hour they leave her in place is a stain on them and the so-called ‘compassionate conservatism’ they supposedly espouse.”
Caroline Lucas, co-leader of the Green party, and Andrew Gwynne, Labour’s campaign co-ordinator, also called for Ms Morris’ suspension.
Earlier this year, the MP was forced to distance herself from comments made by her electoral agent and partner, Roger Kendrick, who told a hustings event that “the crisis in education was due entirely to non-British-born immigrants and their high birth rates”.
In response, Ms Morris told DevonLive: “I don’t share the views expressed by Roger Kendrick.”
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