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UK minister sorry for calling lawmaker ‘coloured woman’

March 09, 2019 05:52 AM


UK minister sorry for calling lawmaker ‘coloured woman’
Benjamin Mueller


The British work and pensions secretary, Amber Rudd, apologised on Thursday after describing a Labour Party member of Parliament in a radio interview as a “coloured woman,” adding another chapter to claims of racism that have recently rocked lawmakers. The comment from Rudd, who is white, quickly faced a chorus of criticism, including from the Labour member of Parliament, Diane Abbott, who is black. Abbott, a prominent critic of PM Theresa May’s government, said the term was “an outdated, offensive and revealing choice of words.” Rudd, a Conservative, said on Twitter that she was “mortified at my clumsy language and sorry to @Hackney-Abbott.”

In the radio interview with the BBC, Rudd was responding to a question about abuse on Twitter being aimed overwhelmingly at women. “It definitely is worse if you’re a woman, and it’s worst of all if you’re a coloured woman,” Rudd said. “I know that Diane Abbott gets a huge amount of abuse, and I think that’s something we need to continue to call out.” In her tweet, she added, “My point stands: that no one should suffer abuse because of their race or gender.”

It was part of another round of apologies in the British government.

Karen Bradley, the Northern Ireland secretary, also apologised on Thursday after suggesting that the killings by British soldiers and police officers during the decadeslong, bloody conflict known as the Troubles were not crimes. She faces calls to resign.

Last month, a white former member of the Labour Party, Angela Smith, apologised after a BBC discussion on racism during which she described people of color as having “a funny tinge.”

Smith blamed tiredness for having “misspoke really badly.” In January, Abbott said she had been mocked and unfairly interrupted during the BBC show “Question Time,” accusing the political programme of legitimizing racist abuse.

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