BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Sunday, 5 May, 2002, 14:44 GMT 15:44 UK
String of Tory race gaffes
Enoch Powell
Enoch Powell's 1968 Rivers of Blood' speech became notorious
Ann Winterton, sacked from the Conservative parliamentary party, is not the first Conservative politician to have run into trouble over controversial remarks.

Nor is it the first time the MP for Congleton in Cheshire has run into trouble for refusing to say sorry for insensitive off-the-cuff remarks.

In 2001 she was sacked from the shadow cabinet by then leader Iain Duncan Smith for making a racist joke at a rugby club dinner.

Shadow health secretary Liam Fox took a different tack a year earlier, publicly apologising for a joke about the Spice Girls which included a reference to the pop band's black singer.

In September 2001, Bristol councillor Richard Eddy resigned as deputy leader of the Tory group amid a barrage of criticism for using a golliwog as his office mascot.

Mr Eddy said the golly was "a bit of an in-house joke".

'Rivers of blood'

At the time he told BBC Radio Bristol: "All this notion of gollies being derogatory to black people is a nonsense."

Earlier the same year the Conservative Party's attitude to race was placed under the microscope after MP John Townend spoke about Britain being a mongrel race.

He claimed that was the implication of the then Foreign Secretary Robin Cook's statement that the British were not a race.

Mr Townend insisted his interpretation was not racist and called for a "colour blind society".

Liam Fox
Dr Liam Fox was forced to apologise over a Spice Girls joke

But race relations groups were appalled and said his comment echoed Enoch Powell's famous "rivers of blood" speech 33 years before.

Then leader William Hague described the comments as "totally unacceptable" but resisted calls to withdraw the party whip from Mr Townend.

A fierce debate ensued, and it could have been Mr Hague's failure to deal decisively with Mr Townend that prompted Iain Duncan Smith to act so quickly over Mrs Winterton when he handled the furore surrounding her comments in 2002.

Permanent exclusion

Eventually, Mr Townend apologised but not before he was threatened with expulsion from the party.

It was Lord Taylor, Britain's only black Tory peer, who led calls for Mr Townend to be disciplined.

He was also at the forefront of calls for Mrs Winterton to resign.

In October 2001, the Tories cut the party's links with the far-right Monday Club.

The controversial group, made up of about 3,000 Conservative Party members and supporters, had called for the voluntary repatriation of immigrants.

Mr Duncan Smith forced three Tory MPs to resign from the club and told it to amend its membership and constitution to avoid race and immigration issues or face permanent exclusion from the party.

Senior Tory sacked over racist joke
05 May 02  |  UK Politics
Senior Tory regrets Spice joke
20 Dec 00  |  UK Politics
Tory's golly joke 'moronic'
06 Sep 01  |  UK Politics
Race row MP forced to apologise
30 Apr 01  |  UK Politics
Tories suspend link with Monday Club
18 Oct 01  |  UK Politics

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | World | UK | England | Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales | Politics
Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health | Education
Have Your Say | Magazine | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific