Jackie Jones, seeking to be the first Labour candidate for Mid and South Pembrokeshire, has called on the Conservative party to take swift action following racist comments reportedly made by a Pembrokeshire Councillor.
On 11 April 2023, Haverfordwest Prendergast Conservative Councillor Andrew Edwards was reported by The Nation to have made openly racist comments, including, “I think all white men should have a black man as a slave or a black woman as a slave, you know.”
Labour’s Jackie Jones said:
“I wholeheartedly condemn all his comments, for which Mr Edwards has now been referred to the Public Service Ombudsman. In my view, if these remarks were made, he needs to resign immediately.
“Sadly, this behaviour is not new to the Tories - numerous reports of slurs and prejudice have surfaced over the years, making racism an uncomfortable topic for the Party.
“There have been many examples - from Enoch Powell's infamous 'Rivers of Blood' speech in 1968, to Margaret Thatcher's infamous World in Action interview in 1978, where she famously stated: ‘People are scared of being swamped by people from other cultures.’ More recently, Boris Johnson described Muslim women wearing face veils as ‘letterboxes’ and ‘bank robbers’ and British Commonwealth citizens as ‘flag-waving piccaninnies.’
“Former Conservative MP Anne Marie Morris was suspended from the party after using a racial slur during a public event in 2017 and only three years ago more than a dozen councillors were suspended over far-right online posts before being allowed back into the Party.
“The Conservatives are building on an uncomfortable history with human rights and discriminatory policies. The questionably unconstitutional Illegal Immigration Bill has recently brought a fresh era of misery for desperate refugees, with removals to Rwanda and even Tory Government Immigration Minister Jenrick acknowledging that there are no safe routes for asylum seekers to get to the UK. All of these policies inflame hatred and prejudice against some of the most vulnerable.”
Bringing the issues close to home in Tenby, Jackie Jones added:
“Described as ‘impoverished, run-down, and unsuitable’, the Penally migrant camp serves as a stark reminder of their cruel policies in action.
“All asylum seekers should be welcome, with their asylum claims heard and a decision made in a short time frame. They should all be treated with dignity. That is what the Welsh Labour government policies of Nation of Sanctuary and anti-racist nation are about. We welcome Ukrainians with their country in flames under constant attack from Putin. We equally welcome Afghan refugees or others from wherever they hail - there’s no hypocrisy in our approach.
“The Tories, by contrast, exploit the vulnerabilities of refugees, making them an easy target to pass the blame for crises in Britain. But it is the opposite which brings prosperity to our country: throughout history, race relations have played a crucial role in fostering peace and fairness, and they will continue to do so.
“We must ask ourselves if these people are truly representative of our communities and what we stand for as we move forward.
The Pembrokeshire I know is warm, welcoming and supportive. It’s home to people who have opened their homes and hearts to Afghan and Ukrainian refugees - who have raised funds and donated their time. It’s full of windows proudly displaying Narberth's Rainbow Fairy’s artwork in solidarity with those less fortunate.
Jackie Jones, Labour
“Unfortunately, it is clear that ugly views have been ingrained in the Conservative party's culture for a too long. It is upon all of us to stamp out racism and hateful rhetoric wherever and whenever we see it.
“Sadly, until we have the courage to stop electing those attracted to institutionally racist parties with racist ideologies, history will repeat itself.”