Union boss accused of racism over Priti Patel comment

Priti Patel has been campaigning for the UK to exit the EU
Priti Patel has been campaigning for the UK to exit the EU

A union boss has been accused of sexism and racism after appearing to make a derogatory remark about a Conservative minister Priti Patel. GMB general secretary Tim Roache sparked anger with a comment the Brexit campaigner during a speech in which he made the case for Britain to remain in the EU.

He said: “Priti Patel, surely a contradiction in her name.” A spokesman for Britain Stronger in Europe said: “This kind of personal attack has no place in this campaign.”

The comment was immediately condemned by allies of Patel, with Tory MP James Cleverly questioning whether Roache was “sexist, racist, blind or all three.”

Conservative MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan, a Vote Leave spokeswoman, said: “This abuse is a new low for the remain campaign – and is exactly the kind of negativity that voters up and down the country are rejecting. I trust there will be widespread condemnation of these comments.”
Roache said people should have listened to the context of his remarks, saying it was what the minister said about workers’ rights which was not pretty. He tweeted: “Not sexist in the slightest. Listen to the context. What she says and thinks of workers and rights is not pretty.”