Labour’s shadow Europe minister has attacked “older white men” as a “problem”, instructing those campaigning to stay in the European Union (EU) to focus on women and the young.
Pat Glass, the MP for North West Durham, made the comments during a pro-European Union (EU) rally in Wolverhampton, whilst stood alongside the shadow chancellor John McDonnell.
Just a couple of weeks ago, she claimed to have met a “horrible racist” when out campaigning who was concerned about mass migration from the EU.
According to the Express & Star, she said women and young people were the “key” demographics for Europhiles to target, adding: “Go and speak to your mother, your grandmother. Don’t speak to your grandfather, we know the problem are older white men.”
Shadow chancellor Mr. McDonnell is reported to have laughed, responding: “Can I speak up for a couple of older white men? I’ll let Jeremy [Corbyn] know.”
A Labour spokesman from the party’s West Midlands region insisted: “It was a light-hearted comment and it was received in that way by the audience.
“Labour are clearly fighting for every single vote and are of course encouraging everyone to vote to remain on 23 June.”
— Pat Glass (@PatMGlass) May 24, 2016
Ranting after a visit to the small, rural parish of Sawley in Derbyshire last month, Mrs. Glass said: “The very first person I come to was a horrible racist. I’m never coming back to wherever this is.”
She was widely accused of being stuck up and out of touch with working class voters.
Immigration is the top electoral concern for roughly half of those due to vote in the upcoming referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU; labelling anyone who raises the issue as “bigoted” is unlikely to help the Remain campaign win them over.
In a swiftly released statement, Mrs. Glass backtracked:
“The comments I made were inappropriate and I regret them. Concerns about immigration are entirely valid and it’s important that politicians engage with them. I apologise to the people living in Sawley for any offence I have caused.”