Jeremy Corbyn’s equalities chief Sarah Champion quits over controversial article

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Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities has resigned after penning a column that was slammed as racist.

Sarah Champion, the MP for Rotherham, was appointed by Jeremy Corbyn last year to serve in the brief, which includes responsibility for LGBT issues and equality.
Sarah Champion

However, she came under fire from fellow Labour MPs this week, over a column she penned for The Sun.

In the piece, Ms Champion cited a number of sex abuse scandals, writing: “Britain has a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls. There. I said it. Does that make me a racist? Or am I just prepared to call out this horrifying problem for what it is?”

The piece was derided as racist by commentators. British-Pakistani Labour MP Naz Shah accused Champion of perpetuating “the dangerous myth that it’s only Asian men who sexually assault young women”.

Ms Champion resigned from her post today.

She said: “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 resignation means that Jeremy Corbyn will have to seek to fill the equalities post for the third time.

The leader had previously attempted to axe the dedicated cabinet role of Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, when shadow minister Kate Green joined a wave of resignations from his top team.

The responsibilities were temporarily handed to Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner, before Ms Champion was appointed to the restored role in October.

He has not yet announced a replacement for Ms Champion.

Ms Champion had previously led calls for a review of the UK’s gender recognition laws, to make it easier for transgender people to gain legal recognition.

Raising the issue in the Commons, she said: “The Minister will be aware of the levels of persecution, intolerance and hate crime towards transgender people.

“Therefore, can the Minister confirm if she has plans to develop a new transgender action plan in line with the previous response to the women and equalities committee and also to the Government plan to conduct a review of the Gender Recognition Act of 2004?”