Shadow equality minister Sarah Champion has resigned after writing an article for The Sun in which she said “Britain has a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls.”
In the piece she said: “For too long we have ignored the race of these abusers and, worse, tried to cover it up. No more. These people are predators and the common denominator is their ethnic heritage.”
Champion had sought to distance herself from the piece, claiming that it had been altered. But a Sun source told Press Gazette that the piece had been signed off by Champion and that she had initially seemed pleased with the way it was presented.
Champion said today: “I apologise for the offence caused by the extremely poor choice of words in The Sun article on Friday. I am concerned that my continued position in the shadow cabinet would distract from the crucial issues around child protection which I have campaigned on my entire political career. It is therefore with regret that I tender my resignation as shadow secretary of state for women and equalities.”
The Rotherham MP, whose constituency contains a large number of Pakistanis, said in the article that she first heard about the problems around child sexual exploitation shortly after being elected in November 2012.
She said: “Mainly white pubescent girls were being sexually groomed and exploited by gangs of mainly British Pakistani men. I had to do something. I would not be another person who turned a blind eye to these crimes…
“More than 90 per cent of abused children know their abuser — it is usually someone from within the extended family — and the vast majority of convictions are against white men acting alone.
“However, as the latest case in Newcastle proves, we must accept that for gang-related child sexual exploitation, the convictions have largely been against British Pakistani men. The Government must act now to understand why this is. We have a large group of men behind bars, let’s do some research and find out why these monsters think it is acceptable to abuse children in this way.”