- Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) license from parliament.uk.
LONDON – Labour MP Sarah Champion has today resigned as the party’s shadow equalities minister after being criticised for an article she wrote for The Sun newspaper.
The MP for Rotherham announced her resignation from the shadow cabinet on Wednesday afternoon following an article she penned titled “Britain has a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls.”
Champion this week distanced herself from the column, saying the piece had been heavily altered and should “not have gone out in my [her] name.”
The column, published last Thursday, opened with the line: “Britain has a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls.”
It continued: “For too long we have ignored the race of these abusers and, worse, tried to cover it up.
“However, as the latest case in Newcastle proves, we must accept that for gang-related child sexual exploitation, the convictions have largely been against British Pakistani men.”
“The latest case in Newcastle” refers to a recent police operation that found over 700 people had been sexually assaulted by a group of 18 defendants, who are mainly British-born Muslims from Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Indian, Iraqi, Iranian and Turkish communities in north-east England.
In a statement, Champion MP said: “I apologise for the offence caused by the extremely poor choice of words in The Sun article on Friday.
“I am concerned that my continued position in the Shadow Cabinet would distract from the crucial issues around child protection which I have campaigned on my entire political career. It is therefore with regret that I tender my resignation as Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities.”
Responding to Champion’s resignation, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “I have accepted Sarah Champion’s resignation and thank her for her work in the Shadow Cabinet. I look forward to working together in future.”
The Labour MP’s complaint against the tabloid newspaper comes just a day after over 100 MPs from across the Commons wrote to it to condemn the “Nazi-like language” it used in an article about Muslim grooming gangs in Britain. Champion was also quoted in this article.
A spokesperson for the Sun newspaper rejected Champion’s claim that her article had been heavily edited in way which misrepresented the point she was seeking to make, saying: “Sarah Champion’s column, as it appeared on Friday, was approved by her team and her adviser twice contacted us thereafter to say she was ‘thrilled’ with the piece and it ‘looked great.’
“Indeed, her only objection after the article appeared was her belief that her picture byline looked unflattering. Her office submitted five new pictures for further use.”