Mercer pays price for insensitivity

TORY MP Patrick Mercer, sacked from his front bench homeland security brief for remarks that it was normal for an ethnic minority soldier to be called a “black bastard,” says his words had been misinterpreted.

By Graham Dines

TORY MP Patrick Mercer, sacked from his front bench homeland security brief for remarks that it was normal for an ethnic minority soldier to be called a “black bastard,” says his words had been misinterpreted.

David Cameron moved swiftly to remove Mr Mercer, fearing they would plunge the party into a racism storm

“Racism is completely unacceptable. Racism is disgusting and it has no part in any part of our society and you can't make excuses for it,” said Mr Cameron.


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“We all have a responsibility to uphold those values and that's why I have taken the action that I have taken and that's why Patrick is no longer on the frontbench for the Conservative Party.”

Mr Mercer, the son of a former Bishop of Exeter who served with the Army in Northern Ireland and Bosnia, made his comments in response to the disclosure that Commonwealth soldiers were forming their own trade union amid complaints of racism and abuse.

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In the Times Online interview, Mr Mercer said: “I came across a lot of ethnic minority soldiers who were idle and useless, but who used racism as cover for their misdemeanours.”

Mr Mercer said it was commonplace for troops to be given a hard time over their ethnicity, the colour of their hair, or because they were overweight.

Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram condemned the comments as shocking and completely unacceptable. “Racist abuse can have no place in any walk of life, and it is appalling and inappropriate for any politician, never mind a senior Tory MP like Patrick Mercer, to suggest that `this is just the way it is in the Army'”

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