Sir Keir Starmer has failed to condemn Labour MP Nadia Whittome after she launched an attack on Rishi Sunak. Earlier this week, Ms Whittome said that Mr Sunak’s appointment as Prime Minister is “not a win for diversity”. The MP for Nottingham caused outrage after she said Mr Sunak, as Britain’s first Prime Minister of Asian heritage, was “not on your side”.
The tweet was deleted on Monday after Ms Whittome was contacted by Labour headquarters and urged to take it down.
A Labour spokesperson confirmed that the MP was told to delete the tweet, saying she is currently in talks with the party Chief Whip about what happens next.
The spokesperson didn’t deny the possibility of the whip being suspended.
Before being deleted, the tweet read: “Rishi Sunak as prime minister isn’t a win for Asian representation,” it read before being removed.
“He’s a multi-millionaire who, as chancellor, cut taxes on bank profits while overseeing the biggest drop in living standards since 1956.
“Black, white or Asian: if you work for a living, he is not on your side.”
Earlier today, Sir Keir was asked whether he told Ms Whittome to delete the tweet.
While he said he “welcomed” the appointment of Mr Sunak as “the first British Asian Prime Minister”, describing it as a “real milestone for our country”, he failed to condemn the MP.
He said: “Let me be very clear with you about the position of the Labour Party – and I was able to say that at Prime Minister’s Questions – and that was to welcome the first Britihs Asian Prime Minister as a real milestone for our country.
“It shows that in Britain, whatever your race whatever your beliefs, your dream can come true.”
When pushed on whether or not he told Ms Whittome to delete the tweet, Sir Keir told Sky News: “The position of the Labour Party is as I set out.
“The whole of the Labour party is very pleased to do so.
“And that’s why I said that this is part of what makes us so proud to be British”.
Mr Sunak was appointed Prime Minister on Monday, after leadership rival Penny Mordaunt failed to get 100 nominations, making Mr Sunak the only name on the ballot paper.
In his first speech as Prime Minister, Mr Sunak promised “integrity, professionalism and accountability.”
He warned of “difficult decisions” to come, saying the Government is grappling with a “profound economic crisis”.
Mr Sunak also said he had been elected as Tory leader to “fix” the “mistakes” made by his predecessor, Liz Truss.