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Anger over Labour peer Baroness Chakrabarti’s “don’t lock me in a room with Essex man” comments

PUBLISHED: 14:48 27 September 2016 | UPDATED: 15:49 27 September 2016

Shami Chakrabarti - photo credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Shami Chakrabarti - photo credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Controversial Labour peer Baroness Chakrabarti has angered Essex politicians after she declared “Don’t lock me in a room with Essex man” at the Labour Party conference.

MP Will Quince accused her of using a “cheap stereotype”, and urged her to visit the county which he said is full of hard-working people.

She was set to meeting Essex Labour members this after noon after Colchester Labour councillor Tim Young invited her to meet “real” Essex men and women who were at the Liverpool venue this week.

He said he wanted to understand the context of her comment which had been reported from a fringe meeting.

Baroness Chakrabarti, who spearheaded a report into anti-Semitism in the party, told a rally in Liverpool yesterday that Labour needed Jewish supporters.

The former director of human rights campaign group Liberty said: “I am a recent recruit to the Labour Party along with hundreds of thousands of people. It is a challenge to me but I want that challenge to be an opportunity.

“Please don’t go. Don’t leave me here, don’t leave me locked in a room with Essex man.”

According to the Daily Mail which reported the event she added after the comment: “If you want to put that on the internet and I get suspended, put it on.

“I don’t want to be left alone with people who lack the vision and views that you and I bring to this party as members of minority groups.”

Colchester MP Will Quince took to Twitter to criticise the Labour figure, posting: “Don’t leave me alone with Essex Man - what does Shami Chakrabarti mean by this? This kind of cheap stereotype is beneath her. So ignorant.”

“This kind of cheap stereotype is beneath her. So ignorant. Shami - come visit us in Essex, full to the brim with hard working people with the vision that is driving business growth in this country.”

The campaigner was made the Chancellor of the University of Essex in 2014. She was given an honourary degree by the institution in 2006 and gave the Essex law lecture in 2007.

Clacton MP Douglas Carswell said Essex was a wonderfully tolerant place.

“I would love to invite Shami to visit Clacton and I will introduce her to some things people call voters which she and her party are going to have to listen to if they are every going to want to hold office again.

“Not everyone can be in the House of Lords like Shami and if she wants to meet some people who are not in the House of Lords and whose her party is going to have to appeal to, I would love to invite her to Clacton, I promise they won’t bite.”

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