Tory MP who backs Brexit apologises for comment branded racist

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A Brexit-backing Conservative MP who described the prospect of leaving the European Union with no deal as "the real n***** in the woodpile" has apologised.

Anne Marie Morris said her comment, which has been described as racism, was "entirely unintentional", adding: "I apologise unreservedly for any offence caused".

The Tories are facing calls to remove the whip from Ms Morris and a party spokesman said in a statement: "We are aware of these reports, this kind of language is completely unacceptable, and we are urgently investigating."

MPs have called on the Tories to cut the party's ties with Ms Morris.

Outgoing Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: "This disgusting comment belongs in the era of the Jim Crow laws and has no place in our Parliament.

"The Conservative Party should withdraw the whip from Anne Marie Morris and they should do it today.

"Every hour they leave her in place, is a stain on them and the so called 'compassionate conservatism' they supposedly espouse.

"I am utterly shocked that this person represents the good people of Newton Abbot.

"Even if she misspoke this is the nastiest thing I've heard an MP utter since Lord Dixon Smith uttered the same awful phrase a few years ago."

Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas tweeted: "Appalling. Should have the whip removed immediately.

"No place in our politics for racism, full stop."

Ms Morris made the remarks at a meeting of Eurosceptics at the East India Club in St James Square in central London, which was organised by the Politeia group.

In an audio clip obtained by the Huffington Post, she is heard saying: "And then we get to the real n***** in the woodpile which is in two years what happens if there is no deal?"

According to the website she made the remark while discussing what financial services deal Britain could strike with the EU after Brexit.

In the Commons, Labour's Kevin Brennan asked Theresa May: "Not all G20 countries have made the same sort of progress we have made in this country in relation to racist and discriminatory language.

"Was that an issue she discussed with the G20 leaders and does she agree that where that happens organisations should take decisive and swift action?"

The Prime Minister replied: "I have to say to (Mr Brennan) that I think it is beholden on us all to ensure that we use appropriate language at all times."

Labour's national campaign co-ordinator Andrew Gwynne said: "Anne Marie Morris' comments are outrageous and totally unacceptable.

"While the Conservative Party has tabled a debate on Wednesday to apparently discuss and condemn abuse of candidates in the General Election, these comments prove their hypocrisy.

"Theresa May once spoke about changing the Tories' 'nasty party' tag.

"If she's serious about that, she will admit it's not enough for the Tories to 'investigate' and will apologise and act immediately. If that means withdrawing the whip, that's what they should do."