Tory Candidate Said Sikh Rival Was ‘Talking Through His Turban’ || SNE
By The Guardian .
Nov 29, 2019
Sikh Tories criticize ‘offensive’ comment by Philip Dunne, who is seeking re-election in Ludlow
Sikh members of the Conservative party have heavily criticized a former minister standing in the general election after he told a rival at a husting that he was “talking through his turban”.
The organization Sikh Tories released a statement on Twitter to say the comments made by Philip Dunne, the party’s candidate in Ludlow, Shropshire, were offensive and unacceptable.
However, the Conservatives are facing criticism for not taking action over the incident, despite promises by the prime minister, BorisJohnson, that anyone in the party who has shown prejudice or discrimination is “out first bounce”.
Sikh Tories said: “We’re disappointed by the offensive remarks made by Philip Dunne at the Ludlow hustings. These comments are simply unacceptable.
“We recognize he has already apologized, and hope he and others will consider their words before referring negatively to the Sikh crown in future.”Sikh Labour politician Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, who is campaigning to be returned as MP for Slough, said Dunne’s comment was racist and called for his suspension.
He repeated Johnson’s pledge that he would kick out members of the party found making such remarks at “first bounce”.
Singh Dhesi, who is the first MP to wear a turban, said: “Boris Johnson is sending the message that it’s OK to be racist towards British Sikhs and openly humiliate us in public forums. Philip Dunne should be immediately suspended from the Conservative party and stripped of the honor the Tory leadership gave him this year.”
Dunne, who is seeking re-election as the MP for the Shropshire constituency, made his comment to Labour candidate Kuldip Sahota during a debate in a local church on Wednesday evening. They clashed over education budgets, according to people there.
He is said to have apologised at the end of the debate when he was told by Sahota that the remarks were offensive.
Dunne released a statement on Thursday: “I apologised to Kuldip Sahota for my comments. I apologise again unreservedly for the offence caused.”
Sahota, the former leader of Telford and Wrekin council, said the remark was reminiscent of the offensive comments he received in the 1970s.
The Conservatives did not comment on whether there would be an investigation into Dunne, who has held the seat since 2005. He is a former health and defence minister.