Scottish Labour's Hugh Gaffney apologies after LGBT and Chinese jokes at Burns supper

Written by Nicholas Mairs on 8 February 2018 in News

Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill MP Hugh Gaffney reprimanded for language used at Labour Students Burns Supper In Edinburgh

Scottish Labour

A Scottish Labour MP has been forced to apologise after he admitted using "deeply offensive" language about gay people and the Chinese community at a Burns supper.

Hugh Gaffney is said to have told a joke about Robert Burns not being “bent” and used a derogatory word to describe a Chinese meal at a Labour event in Edinburgh last weekend

The Herald reports that when giving the customary Immortal Memory, he said: “He started off being a farmer/But he really was such a charmer/Going for ales he frequent/Telling the lads and lassies he was not bent.”

The paper says the comments led to the Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill MP being hauled before party bosses and forced to apologise before agreeing to take part in diversity training.

In a statement, Gaffney, who was first elected to the Commons in June, said he would do “everything possible to make amends with both the Chinese community and the LGBT community.”

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

"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."

An SNP spokesperson told the paper the MP’s comments were “downright offensive” and the sort of language that has “no place in modern politics”.

“Toasts at Burns Suppers are, of course, meant to be entertaining,” they said.

“But it’s clearly beyond the wit of Hugh Gaffney to toe the line between what’s humorous and what’s downright offensive.

“He’s an elected representative in 2018, not a pub bore in a working men’s club of years gone by."

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