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Tory MP Sir Desmond Swayne admits to ‘blacking up’


Desmond Swayne MP (Photo: Twitter)
Desmond Swayne MP (Photo: Twitter)

A Tory MP has admitted her once blacked up as soul singer James Brown at a fancy dress party, but added that he has no intention of apologising for the incident.

Sir Desmond Swayne, a veteran Tory MP, wrote in a blog post that he was trying to be “as authentic as possible” by blacking up.

Defending Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau for his Arabian Nights outfit, the 63-year-old wrote: “I suspect that Justin Trudeau’s cringing apology for blacking himself ‘blinded by his own white privilege’ has done him rather more harm than the original offence.

“It was a themed ‘Arabian Nights’ fancy-dress party for heaven’s sake!

“It comes to something when you can’t dress-up as Aladdin without attracting the opprobrium of the ‘great and good’. He would have done better to have said it was an entirely acceptable bit of fun and refused to apologise.”

Sir Desmond, MP for New Forest West, Hants, added: “I once went to a ‘Blues Brothers’ themed fancy-dress party as James Brown.

“I went to some trouble to be as authentic as possible. I can assure readers of this column that I have no intention of apologising. Constituents often write to me having been infuriated by some latest absurdity of political correctness. I tell them that the best response is simply to laugh at it.”

He however added that he wouldn’t do it again, only because of the “trouble” of getting clean again.

Trudeau has come under severe criticism for blacking up on at least three occasions in the past.

A fervent advocate of multiculturalism, the 47-year-old prime minister — who is considered the father of modern Canada — apologised publicly for the blunders.

“Darkening your face, regardless of the context or the circumstances, is always unacceptable because of the racist history of blackface,” Trudeau said. “I should have understood that then and I never should have done it.”

The photographs comes at a critical time for Trudeau, who is seeking re-election. The emergence of the photographs could undermine his chances of winning the election when Canada goes to polls in less than a month’s time.

He is facing a tough re-election battle against the main opposition led by Andrew Scheer.