Scotland politics

Labour MP Hugh Gaffney sorry for 'deeply offensive' Burns Supper remarks

Hugh Gaffney Image copyright PA
Image caption Hugh Gaffney said he would do everything possible to make amends

A Labour MP has apologised after making "deeply offensive and unacceptable" remarks at a Burns Supper in Edinburgh.

Hugh Gaffney said he would undergo equality and diversity training following the comments about the LGBT community and Chinese people.

Mr Gaffney, who is MP for Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill, made the comments at a Labour students' event.

Labour said Mr Gaffney had been reprimanded. The SNP called for him to be suspended from the party.

The 54-year-old is reported to have made a joke about Robert Burns not being "bent", and used a racist term when referring to a Chinese meal.

In a statement, Mr Gaffney said: "Last week I attended a Labour Students Burns Supper In Edinburgh.

'Make amends'

"At that event I used certain language relating to the Chinese and LGBT communities that was wrong and completely inappropriate.

"I want to offer my unreserved apologies for what I said; my remarks were deeply offensive and unacceptable.

"I will be taking part in equality and diversity training at the earliest opportunity.

"I will do everything possible to make amends with both the Chinese community and the LGBT community."

A Labour party spokesman said: "Hugh Gaffney MP has been reprimanded for using inappropriate and offensive language.

"He has apologised unreservedly and referred himself for equality and diversity training. The Labour Party is clear that this language is unacceptable."

Mr Gaffney's comments come a month after he complained about being subject to slurs over his weight and Scottish accent during Commons debates.

The Labour MP said he had been heckled "something awful" by Tory MPs.

During the recent Scottish Labour leadership campaign, contender Anas Sarwar said he was subjected to racial abuse.

He drew up an eight-point plan on how the party could tackle everyday racism and Islamophobia.

In response to Mr Gaffney's comments, Mr Sarwar tweeted: "Today is sadly another example of why we need to recognise that everyday racism is a reality."

The SNP's Humza Yousaf took to social media to call for Labour to withdraw the party whip from Mr Gaffney.

Mr Yousaf said: "This is utterly awful. A simple apology and diversity training does not cut it.

"In fact, it is a slap in the face to suggest this absolves him."

He added: "At very least he should be suspended from the party and whip withdrawn."