Corbyn: Don’t blame “entire ethnic community” for child sex crimes

17th August, 2017 4:20 pm

Jeremy Corbyn has said Sarah Champion was wrong to blame an “entire ethnic community” as Labour’s internal debate intensified over the resignation of the shadow cabinet minister.

Corbyn, who has denied suggestions he pushed out his shadow women and equalities secretary, today said quitting was the “right thing” for Champion to do.

The Rotheram MP had used a Sun article to say that “Britain has a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls… These people are predators and the common denominator is their ethnic heritage.”

Champion resigned last night, issuing an apology for what she described as her “extremely poor choice of words”, and today Corbyn faced questions on her departure when he carried out a campaigning visit in Bolton West.

“Child exploitation is wrong. Child abuse is wrong. It is a crime, and it has to be dealt with,” he told the BBC.

“But you cannot blame an entire community, an entire nation or an entire ethnic community. You have to deal with it for the crime of what it is.”

When asked if he had sacked Champion, he responded: “Look, she resigned and I accepted the resignation, so, clearly, I think it’s right thing to do and I thank her for her work.”

Some Labour activists lobbied Corbyn online to remove Champion but backbencher Barry Sheerman, and Trevor Phillips, the former chair of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, who has also served as Labour chair of the London Assembly, both spoke out in her defence.

Sajid Javid, the Tory communities and local government secretary today attacked the Labour leader’s handling of the controversy, writing on Twitter: “Corbyn wrong to sack Sarah Champion. We need an honest open debate on child sexual exploitation, including racial motivation”.

Corbyn was in Lancashire to visit a foodbank as part of his summer of campaigning. The Tories held Bolton West at the general election with a majority of just 936.

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