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Foster says DUP ‘absolutely committed to racial equality’ after Campbell comments

The party’s East Londonderry MP has been accused of ‘race-baiting’ and anti-racism campaigners called on Gregory Campbell to apologise.

2.57404450 Source: PA Images

THE DUP ARE “absolutely committed” to racial equality, Arlene Foster has said.

The Northern Irish party’s East Londonderry MP has been accused of “race-baiting” after describing the number of black people on an edition of Songs of Praise as “the BBC at its BLM (Black Lives Matter) worst”.

Anti-racism and ethnic minority campaigners have called on Gregory Campbell to apologise.

Foster said: “It is not a sentiment that I identify with, as someone who actually does enjoy Songs of Praise every Sunday and the diversity that is exhibited thereupon.”

She told the Northern Ireland Assembly: “We are totally, absolutely committed to racial equality.”

The five semi-finalists, judges and presenter of the programme Campbell referred to were all of a black ethnicity.

He wrote in an online post:  “There were five singers, all of them black. There were three judges all of them black and one presenter who was incidentally, yes black.

“The singers were all very good but can you imagine an all white line up with an all white jury and presented by a white person? No I can’t either.”

2.48989534 Gregory Campbell Source: PA Images

The North West Migrants Forum, covering Campbell’s constituency, said they were “astonishing and shocking” comments.

It said black and ethnic minority people are equal citizens in an increasingly diverse country, including in Mr Campbell’s constituency.

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“He needs to withdraw his ignorant and insulting post and make a full public apology to the black and minority ethnic community of his constituency and beyond.”

It added that Mrs Foster should ensure her MP was held accountable for his words.

“Failure to do so will mean the words of that Executive vision (of a united community) will ring hollow.

“Meanwhile, we commit ourselves to challenging racism and building a society that fully respects and celebrates diversity.”

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