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Democratic Unionist Party MP criticised for 'race-baiting' social media post

Campbell made the post on 31 January complaining about the BBC’s Songs of Praise.

Image: Liam McBurney

A DUP MP has received criticism for a “race-baiting” social media post, after he complained about the number of black people on an episode of BBC’s Songs of Praise.

Gregory Campbell, a Democratic Unionist Party MP for East Derry, made the post on 31 January where he complained about an episode of Song’s of Praise, saying that it was “BBC at it’s BLM worst.”

Groups which represent ethnic minorities have condemned Campbell, alongside other politicians in Northern Ireland.

In his post, Campbell referenced the fact that there were five black singers, three black judges and a black presenter. 

“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?,” said Campbell in his post.

Cap

North West Migrants Forum (NWMF), a charity which works with asylum seekers, vulnerable migrants and refugees, condemned Campell in a statement.

“It is both astonishing and shocking that Mr Campbell watched this deeply moving edition of Songs of Praise, full of love and praise for God, and saw only skin colour

“Is he uncomfortable watching a programme where Black British people and culture are celebrated centre-stage? Did he think the BBC was racist when other programmes – night after night, decade after decade – only featured white people?

It is alarming that a political leader thinks it appropriate to use this kind of race-baiting to secure some sort of perceived political advantage, regardless of the consequences.

NWMF called the post “deeply irresponsible” and said that Campbell cannot go unchallenged as the “potential costs are too high”.

“Black and ethnic minority people are not ‘other’; they are equal citizens in an increasingly diverse country, including in Mr Campbell’s constituency. ”

The group called on him to withdraw his post and to publicly apologize to the black and ethnic minority community in Northern Ireland.

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The post comes three weeks after an arson attack on the Belfast Multicultural Association, which has been treated as a hate crime by the PSNI.

SDLP MLA Cara Hunter, who shares the same constituency as Campbell, said that “if he’s a fan of Songs of Praise, perhaps he should demonstrate real Christian values.”

The post by Campbell has not been taken down from his Facebook page as of publication.

The DUP has been contacted for comment, but none has been received at the time of publication.

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