Angela Smith

Angela Smith
The MP Angela Smith has apologised for having "misspoke" after she appeared to refer to people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds as having a "funny tinge".

In a discussion on the extent of racism in the UK on BBC2's Politics Live show, Smith - who on Monday left Labour to help found a new independent grouping in parliament - said society needed to address the important debate rather than run away from it.

Referencing the fact working-class women find life hard enough but that BAME working-class women face greater impediments, the MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge said: "The recent history of the party I've just left suggests that it's not just about being black or a funny [partially inaudible], you know, different, from the BAME community."


Comment: It is clear from the audio she says "funny tin-" and stopped herself.


Ash Sarkar, the political commentator from Novara Media, interjected: "A funny what?". Smith's comment, however, was not addressed by the host Jo Coburn.


Comment: Why not? Is there any reason the BBC host, who are supposed to be impartial, wouldn't address such a strange comment?


Sarkar later tweeted: "So err, Angela Smith went a bit of a 'funny tinge' herself when I started asking about her record on water privatisation."

Angela Smith was soon trending on Twitter, and was criticised for her remark.

Labour MP Rupa Huq said: "They claim their new party is anti-racist and modern yet in the same breath describe black, Asian and minority ethnic people as having a 'funny tinge'. This is, at best, the casual racism of the 1970s that I thought we'd long left behind. But it will strike many as an appalling, racist comment. Is the Independent Group going to investigate?"

The journalist Jane Merrick tweeted: "Really shocking to hear the Angela Smith 'funny tinge' comments - how does that phrase even cross your mind when referring to racism? But those involved in the Independent Group should denounce what she's said."

Smith apologised several hours later. "I have seen the clip from Politics Live, I am very sorry about any offence caused and I am very upset that I misspoke so badly," she said in a clip posted on Twitter.

"It's not what I am, I am committed to fighting racism wherever I find it in our society."