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Anne Marie Morris: Tory MP suspended for saying 'real n***** in the woodpile' at meeting has party whip restored

No explanation given for decision to end suspension for remarks condemned as 'shocking and unacceptable' by Theresa May

Rob Merrick
Deputy Political Editor
Tuesday 12 December 2017 17:56 GMT
Conservative MP Ann Marie Morris
Conservative MP Ann Marie Morris

A Tory MP who was suspended for using the phrase a “real n***** in the woodpile” at a meeting about Brexit has had the party whip restored.

The Conservative Party gave no explanation for the decision to lift the suspension imposed on Anne Marie Morris, the MP for Newton Abbot, in Devon.

But it announced the move alongside a fresh apology from Ms Morris for “using such inappropriate and offensive language”.

The MP’s secretly recorded remarks triggered outrage when they were revealed in July and were condemned by Theresa May as “shocking and unacceptable”.

Ms Morris, an MP since 2010, had been discussing what financial services deal the UK could strike with Brussels after 2019, suggesting just 7 per cent of such services would be affected.

She told a meeting of Eurosceptics: “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.

“Now we get to the real n***** in the woodpile, which is, in two years, what happens if there is no deal?”

Within four hours, the Prime Minister had announced her punishment, saying: “I was shocked to hear of these remarks, which are completely unacceptable.

“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.”

The decision to end her suspension was announced in an email, which read simply: “Anne Marie Morris has the Conservative whip restored.”

Jon Trickett MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office, said: “It’s a disgrace that the so called ‘caring’ Conservatives have welcomed back Anne Marie Morris who made an appallingly racist comment.

“It appears the Prime Minister is so weak and desperate to avoid a parliamentary Brexit defeat, she is prepared to forgive and forget racism.

“Theresa May once branded the Conservatives the 'nasty party' and it is clear nothing has changed.”

Ms Morris herself said: “I would like to take this opportunity to apologise again for using such inappropriate and offensive language. It was a mistake and I regret it unreservedly.

“I have learned from this experience and have a new determination to uphold the highest possible standards in public life.

“I feel proud and privileged to be a Member of Parliament and I will continue to serve my community and my country to the best of my ability.”

The comments were recorded by the Huffington Post website, at the East India Club, in London.

The Prime Minister later told the Commons: “I think it is beholden on us all to ensure we use appropriate language at all times.”

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