A Tory MP has sparked outrage after telling a constituent who asked him to condemn Donald Trump’s actions in the wake of George Floyd’s killing that “arsonists and looters have it coming”.
Sir Desmond Swayne, MP for New Forest West in Hampshire, had been asked whether he could support the US after it threatened to send in the military to deal with civil unrest.
In an email seen by HuffPost UK, he wrote back: “Racism is a cancer, and I’m glad that the perpetrator is on a murder charge. Nevertheless, looters, arsonists and rioters have it coming.”
Other constituents have also reported similar responses from the MP. In another email he wrote: “Arsonists and looters have it coming.”
It comes as UK voters appeal to their MPs to condemn Trump and urge the government to take action.
Floyd died last week after a police officer pressed his knee into his neck for almost nine minutes. His killing sparked protests that have spread across the US and beyond.
I emailed my local MP asking him to condemn Trump’s actions, support BLM / black people in our community and urge the UK government to take action. This was his response to my email ... #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/1hsEH4BoqB— eleanor (@eleanormaryy) June 2, 2020
Disgusted by @DesmondSwayne ‘s response to my letter, asking if he will condemn Trump & how he will address racial bias in this pandemic.— mle x (@amthxst) June 2, 2020
He is condoning Trump’s violence & he didn’t even address the 2nd paragraph of my email.
Please share. #BlackLivesMatter #BLM pic.twitter.com/pXekcuNqX6
After several protests turned violent on Monday, Trump tweeted that he would use the military to restore order if governors did not.
And on Tuesday night in Washington, DC, local and federal law enforcement officials and military police officers were deployed in an overwhelming show of force meant to stamp out demonstrations against police brutality and racism. Protesters marched despite the threat of violence.
Several of Swayne’s constituents revealed his responses on Twitter, commenting that they were “disgusted”. One described him as “perennially gross”. Some were urged to report him to the parliamentary standards commission.
Swayne has been contacted for comment.
He also made headlines last year after revealing that he once wore “blackface” to dress up as James Brown and had “no intention of apologising”.
Bookmark this one too. He also refused to apologise for blackface last year, saying it was a “joke” https://t.co/efUDNgZAJA— mle x (@amthxst) June 3, 2020
Taking to his blog, he described it as “an entirely acceptable bit of fun” to dress up as other ethnicities.
Speaking to the Bournemouth Daily Echo, he said he did not understand why people from minority backgrounds might find it offensive, adding: “No one’s complained to me about it.”
Blackface has a history of perpetuating offensive and racist stereotypes of African Americans dating back more than 200 years in the US.
“It’s a tradition rooted in racism which is very much about the fear of Black people and the laughing at black people,” Dr Kehinde Andrews, associate professor in sociology at Birmingham City University told the BBC in 2017.
In a 2016 blog post, declaring himself a “hot-blooded male”, Swayne waded into the row over the burkini ban being overturned by a French court.
Explaining he could appreciate a bikini-clad body, he admitted finding something “attractive, alluring, even sensual” about concealment as “it leaves more to the imagination,” before adding: “Alas, the court is not accountable to me, and the French must sort out their own affairs.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.