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US News Blackface is an 'entirely acceptable bit of fun', says Conservative MP

23:40  27 september  2019
23:40  27 september  2019 Source:   news.sky.com

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A senior Conservative MP has described wearing blackface as an " entirely acceptable bit of fun ". Sir Desmond Swayne hinted he wore blackface when attending a fancy dress party as soul singer James Brown - and said he "went to some trouble to be as authentic as possible".

A veteran Tory MP has hinted that he wore blackface , while describing the practice widely criticised as a racist caricature as an " entirely acceptable bit of fun ''. "He would have done better to have said it was an entirely acceptable bit of fun and refused to apologise,'' the Tory wrote.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Sir Desmond argued Mr Trudeau should not have apologised for the blackface controversy © Reuters Sir Desmond argued Mr Trudeau should not have apologised for the blackface controversy

A senior Conservative MP has described wearing blackface as an "entirely acceptable bit of fun".

Sir Desmond Swayne hinted he wore blackface when attending a fancy dress party as soul singer James Brown - and said he "went to some trouble to be as authentic as possible".

Kenneth Clarke wearing a suit and tie: The MP appeared to be sleeping during a speech by former chancellor Ken Clarke © PA The MP appeared to be sleeping during a speech by former chancellor Ken Clarke

The former minister also defended the embattled Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose re-election campaign ran into trouble after photographs showed him dressed in an Aladdin costume and wearing black make-up.

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Wearing blackface is always acceptable for Halloween, 15% of respondents say , while another 19% said it's sometimes acceptable . In the Pew survey, Republicans (and Republican-leaning independents) were much more likely to see blackface as acceptable than Democrats.

About one-third of Americans say that wearing blackface for a Halloween costume is “sometimes” or “always” And 39 percent of white respondents said it was always or sometimes acceptable to wear blackface 5, almost entirely before the blackface scandal that erupted in Virginia politics this month.

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Labour immediately criticised the comments by the MP for New Forest West, and called on the Conservatives to take action.

Mr Trudeau had expressed regret after images and a video of him wearing blackface emerged - and said "the layers of privilege" he benefited from meant he did not see that darkening his skin was racist.

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But on his official website, in a blog post entitled Trudeau's Turban, Sir Desmond argued the Canadian politician should not have apologised.

The Tory, who was knighted by David Cameron in 2016, wrote: "He would have done better to have said it was an entirely acceptable bit of fun and refused to apologise.

"I once went to a Blues Brothers themed fancy-dress party as James Brown. I went to some trouble to be as authentic as possible.

"I can assure readers of this column that I have no intention of apologising."

Asked by Sky News if he had worn blackface, Sir Desmond said: "I think you can draw your own conclusions from [the blog]."

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Shadow women and equalities secretary Dawn Butler said: "This is another example of a politician not even trying to understand the history of oppression and racism.

"Desmond Swayne has not only admitted to blacking up himself, but is now actively encouraging others to do so.

"The Tories need to explain what action will be taken against him and whether this took place while he was a government minister."

Sir Desmond was in the news earlier this year after he appeared to fall asleep in the House of Commons.

The MP said at the time the picture of him dozing behind former chancellor Ken Clarke was "horrible" and "embarrassing".

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Boris Johnson to 'sabotage' the EU's budget if Brexit is delayed as he insists the majority of MPs do back his new deal .
Britain will leave the EU in 25 days without a deal unless senior figures agree to compromise, in which case Boris Johnson will 'paralyse' the EU, senior aides revealed. Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivers a statement outside 10 Downing Street in central London on September 2, 2019. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday said the chances of a Brexit deal with Brussels were "rising" but ruled out any delay to the October 31 deadline for Britain to leave the European Union if no agreement is struck.

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