Labour MP admits to ‘deeply offensive’ slurs towards gay people and Chinese community in Burns speech


A Labour MP has been disciplined after admitting to “deeply offensive” slurs towards gay people and the Chinese community in a Burns supper speech.

Hugh Gaffney will be sent on equality training after reciting a self-penned poem in which he joked that Robert Burns, Scotland’s national poet, was not “bent”.

He also reportedly used a racist term to refer to a Chinese meal, telling his audience he could have stayed at home instead to eat a “ch***y”.

Labour is now under pressure to go further, by suspending Mr Gaffney, the MP for Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshil, from the party.

The Herald newspaper, in Glasgow, reported that the MP shocked the Labour event in Edinburgh when delivering the traditional Burns tribute poem, called the Immortal Memory

“He started off being a farmer/But he really was such a charmer/Going for ales he frequent/Telling the lads and lassies he was not bent,” he said.

Amid growing criticism, Mr Gaffney said: “At that event I used certain language relating to the Chinese and LGBT communities that was wrong and completely inappropriate.

“I want to offer my unreserved apologies for what I said; my remarks were deeply offensive and unacceptable.

“I will be taking part in equality and diversity training at the earliest opportunity.

“I will do everything possible to make amends with both the Chinese community and the LGBT community.”

A Labour spokesman said: “Hugh Gaffney MP has been reprimanded for using inappropriate and offensive language.

“He has apologised unreservedly and referred himself for equality and diversity training. The Labour Party is clear that this language is unacceptable.”

However, Humza Yousaf, an SNP minister at the Holyrood Parliament, said the action did not go far enough and called for Mr Gaffney to be suspended.

He tweeted: “This is utterly awful. A simple apology and diversity training does NOT cut it! In fact it is a slap in the face to suggest this absolves him.

Mr Yousaf added: “At very least he should be suspended from the party and whip withdrawn.”