Starmer accused of 'rank hypocrisy' as Shazia Mirza hosts Labour event
Sir Keir Starmer accused of ‘rank hypocrisy’ as comedian Shazia Mirza hosts major Labour diversity event – after she branded Sajid Javid and Priti Patel ‘coconuts’ for being Asian and Tory
- Keir Starmer has been accused of hypocrisy over comedian at diversity event
- Shazia Mirza had previously branded Conservative cabinet ministers ‘coconuts’
- Read more: Labour ‘fearing the worst’ over potential Boris Johnson comeback
Sir Keir Starmer was last night accused of ‘rank hypocrisy’ for allowing a comedian who made ‘coconut’ slurs about leading British Asian Tories to host a major Labour diversity event.
Shazia Mirza was the compere at last week’s Labour gala dinner to celebrate the South Asian community, with Sir Keir and other Labour frontbenchers in attendance.
But the outspoken performer has previously branded ex-Home Secretaries Sajid Javid and Priti Patel ‘coconuts’ for showing a lack of loyalty to their ethnic communities.
Her invitation to the event in London also came just months after Labour MP Rupa Huq had the party whip withdrawn for describing the then Tory Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng as ‘superficially’ black.
Last night, Tory Party vice-chairman Saqib Bhatti accused Sir Keir of ‘rank hypocrisy’ and called on him to hand back any money raised by the event.
Shazia Mirza was the compere at last week’s Labour gala dinner to celebrate the South Asian community. Keir Starmer was in attendance
A Labour spokesman said Ms Mirza’s comments were ‘inappropriate and offensive. We will be reviewing our due diligence of external speakers at events’
He added: ‘Was the very public disciplining of Rupa Huq just for show or does Starmer’s Labour really believe in eradicating all forms of racism and discrimination?’
And after The Mail on Sunday pointed out Ms Mirza’s past remarks, Labour was forced into condemning them and promised to review its due diligence on who could speak at party events.
The dinner – held at the Londoner Hotel – was attended by a host of major Labour figures. But the MoS understands that the choice of compere caused raised eyebrows among some.
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Four years ago, Ms Mirza, the daughter of Muslim Pakistani immigrants, called Mr Javid, whose parents came from Pakistan, ‘a coconut’ over his decision to strip Shamima Begum of her British citizenship.
In an article in 2019, ‘Oh, what a rotten bunch of coconuts’, she also said Ms Patel was a ‘famous coconut’, explaining it was ‘a term used by brown people about other brown people if they are not seen to be helping the cause of brown people’.
Ms Mirza admitted that the term could be ‘brazenly racist’ but said: ‘When I refer to Sajid Javid as a coconut, I am not referring to his skin colour – I am referring to his lack of loyalties and patriotism towards a group of people from the same background.’
In 2018, Mr Javid challenged then Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to disown racist abuse he was getting from hard-Left activists, who were calling him a coconut and an ‘Uncle Tom’ – an offensive term for a black person servile to white people.
Last September, Ealing MP Ms Huq was forced to apologise after saying of Mr Kwarteng, ‘superficially he is a black man’.
Sir Keir condemned the remarks as racist.
Last night, a Labour spokesman said Ms Mirza’s comments were ‘inappropriate and offensive. We will be reviewing our due diligence of external speakers at events’.
Ms Mirza was approached for comment last night.
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